Saturday, November 18, 2017

Nancy Hughes: Kicking out the uninvited guest

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV)


An uninvited guest moved into my home immediately after my husband passed away. No matter where I turned, he was there. And he never slept.

I would wake up to his repeated taunts and whispers. With every attack my heart would race in my chest as if I had just run a marathon. “Who’s going to be next?” he would taunt. “Someone else is going to die; who do you think it is?” he would challenge and then fade into the background, leaving me with a choking panic in my throat.

One morning a daily phone call to a close friend was not answered. From out of nowhere a voice spoke a lie to my heart. “She’s dead. She was the next one.” And for an instant, I almost believed him.

The name of my uninvited guest? Satan, the evil liar. He did every thing he could to move into my home – and my heart – with his baggage of deception and deceit. His purpose was to drain my joy and my hope and to shake my very foundation and belief and trust in Jesus.

In my defense, within about a 5 month time period, I had lost my brother-in-law, who was more like a brother; my sister who was my best friend and two weeks after that, my husband.

I cannot begin to describe the deep heartache and grief that filled every second of my days and nights. I held on to the Lord with every ounce of strength I had but there were many days when simply breathing became an accomplishment.

The entire book of Psalms became my place of refuge – my hiding place. I literally ran to my Bible and held it closely as I read one Scripture after another in which David talked about holding on to God with everything He had. Why?

Because even David had days when he was lonely and defeated and heartbroken and beaten up spiritually. And yes, when he was afraid. David the warrior was afraid.

Psalm 46:1-2 became a minute by minute encouragement to me. David wrote “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”

That was exactly how I felt: everything beneath my feet had broken apart and I was in free fall with no rope for security.

If you have not experienced the suddenness of loss – either of a loved one or a job or something secure in your life – you will. Jesus tells us that we will have problems in this world (John 16:33) but the great news is that He has already overcome every single heartache that we will face.

Because Jesus held on to me and spoke truth, my uninvited guest was kicked from my home and my heart and replaced with the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, Satan still tries to sneak back in every so often. But I no longer live in fear. I live in faith.

Father, thank you for being my strength when I have none and for always being by my side. I choose to listen to your voice. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .

Reflect

Can you think of an experience when fear took over every part of your life and you found yourself struggling?

Application

There are 150 chapters in the book of Psalms. Read 5 per day for one month.

Underline or highlight those parts that specifically speak to your heart.

Memorize today’s Scripture and praise the Lord for His presence by your side, no matter what you face in life. He is faithful.

Power Verses

Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV) “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”

Psalm 27:1 (NIV) “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?”

Psalm 34:4 (NIV) “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 16:8 (NIV) “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Psalm 23:4 (NIV) “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

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

Kim Frencken: When tragedy strikes the education community

When tragedy strikes in the education community it affects all of us. No matter where we live in relation to the incident it belongs to us. 

News stories of shootings and disasters bring a pause with a shiver of dread. We all hold our breath for just a second or two and touch our hearts thinking of the children. It doesn't matter if we've never seen the child or know the teachers or even if we've ever been to the city. It hurts us. We ache with each report and say a silent prayer for all involved.

And, we pray it never happens to our kids, in our school. But we all know that it could. At any given time. On any day. It could be us on the evening news. We strive to be more vigilant and more prepared, but we know in this crazy world that bad things happen to the innocent. So, in addition to our teaching responsibilities we become skilled in the art of protection. Hoping we never have to use the skills that we learn in annual training sessions.

We protect, guard, nurture, and teach a new generation. Then we go home and care for our loved ones. We do our best to protect the purity of trusting little people. We do not want them to know the lengths that we go to or the worries that we have. We do not want them to worry about bad things. Instead we want them to experience the beauty of childhood. To enjoy being children. For just a little while longer.

(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

The death of three-year-old Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey dominated the top posts on the Turner Report and Inside Joplin this week. claiming the top two spots and number six on the Turner Report and the top spot and number four on Inside Joplin.

Two other items of note on the Turner Report Top 10- columnist Kim Frencken broke into it for the first time with her essay on "The Truth About Middle School Teachers" and the number four post was published in November 2014 on the 38th birthday of former Diamond and Webb City High School athlete Kelli Dorsey, who was killed in November 1994. Each year that post begins receiving traffic as Kelli's birthday approaches.

The Turner Report

1. Three-year-old Joplin child dies three weeks after alleged abuser arrested for domestic assault

2. Probable cause statement: Three-year-old victim had brain injuries, bruising, laceration

3. Claim in $75 million lawsuit: Diamond police officers forced Neosho man to undergo public strip search

4. Today would have been Kelli Dorsey's 38th birthday

5. Vote to remove Missouri Commissioner of Education and install charter supporter set for next week

6. Charges against Joplin man may be upgraded when three-year-old's autopsy returns

7. Former Joplin pediatric surgeon's child pornography trial delayed, plea agreement being discussed

8. Kim Frencken: The truth about middle school teachers

9. Sentencing memorandum: Blake Altman told investigators he looked at child pornography to "get in the mood"

10. Greitens eliminates tax credits for low income housing

Inside Joplin

1. Autopsy ordered after three-year-old dies at KC hospital, Joplin man arrested on child abuse charge

2. Joplin Police Department makes felony arrest after finding meth in woman's trunk

3. Suspect captured after high speed chase from Carthage to Lamar, deputy injured

4. Three-year-old in critical condition at KC hospital, Joplin man arrested on child abuse charge

5. Joplin Police Department Arrests November 14-15

6. Webb City teen injured in collision with tractor

7. Warrant issued for arrest of man who led law enforcement on high speed chase from Carthage to Lamar.

8. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

9. Highway Patrol Arrests November 11-12

10. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Brad Beck

2. Susan Fuller

3. Wayne Harrell

4. Sara Spears

5. Mary Richey

6. Barbara Oxendine

7. Richard Norton

8. Erma Hill

9. Muriel Pennington

10. Bob Linam

Inside Springfield

1. Armed, dangerous Springfield man on the loose following shooting death

2. Deaths of Pierce City woman, 10-year-old daughter ruled murder-suicide

3. Man in critical condition with gunshot wound, suspect sought after armed robbery at Springfield convenience store

4. Citizens help Greene County Sheriff capture suspected thieves

5. Springfield woman, Lockwood couple injured in four-vehicle accident on 96

6. Rogersville teen dies in fiery crash

7. U. S. Bankruptcy Court Filings- Springfield

8. Springfield fugitive wanted for statutory rape

9. Springfield man sentenced to 12 years on child pornography charge

10. Springfield city manager resigns

Room 210 Civil Rights

1. Missouri nun who spoke at Selma, Ferguson dead at 93

***

Get your Turner Report t-shirt and pick up a signed copy of one (or more) of my books at my holiday book signing Saturday, December 2, 1 to 3 p.m. at Changing Hands Book Shoppe in Joplin.

The shirts and many of my books will be available at bargain prices. I will see you there.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Claire McCaskill to hold town hall meeting in Webb City Saturday

(From Sen. Claire McCaskill)

I will be in the Joplin/Webb City area this week to hold a public town hall forum, and I invite you to attend.

I think it's important that I hold myself accountable to Missourians - and having public town halls, where Missourians can show up and chew on me about what they think I'm doing right or wrong, and share their ideas and concerns, is a great way to do that. Town halls like these are part of what makes our democracy great, and I think every elected official would benefit from listening and learning from Missourians, face-to-face.

Here are the details for the event:

Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Southwest Center
528 Ellis Street
Webb City, MO 64870

Please be aware that seating is limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact my Springfield office at 417-868-8745.

Greitens eliminates tax credits for low income housing

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

“We're sick of politicians wasting your tax money.

Today, we put an end to politics as usual, to save the people of Missouri hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here's the problem: Politicians spend millions of your money on projects that sound nice, but don't get results.

If you care about people, and you care about taxpayers, you've got to fight for results.

There's a special interest tax credit program in Missouri that started out with good intentions: the Missouri “Low Income Housing” tax credit. It was a fine idea: use some tax dollars to build houses for poor people.

Missourians are generous. They put aside a lot of money for this program. In fact, Missouri built one of the biggest low income housing programs in the country.

But here's what happened: for every dollar that went into the program, only about 42 to 55 cents actually went to building housing for poor people. That’s a bad deal any way you cut it.

If you spend a hard-earned dollar, you expect a dollar of value. I came here as a conservative, an outsider, a Navy SEAL, and a budget hawk to fight for you. And I believe that when it comes to your tax money, if the government spends a dollar, you should get your money's worth.

It's your money, and I'll fight to protect it every day.

A lot of politicians fear the insiders in this industry. So, for years and years and years, they've been willing to waste your money.

Today, they held a meeting about this program to figure out how much of your money to spend next year. We took action. We zeroed out this failing program, and saved tens of millions of dollars.

No. More. Giveaways.

We have to take care of people in Missouri. We have to watch our dollars, and spend them wisely. There are a lot of hard-working people in Missouri who are struggling. They need our help.

Good affordable homes for people who are working hard to get by are important. We're here to work with people across Missouri, on both sides of the aisle, to do what works.

But let's be clear: Politics as usual is over.”

Billy Long on the importance of conference committees

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

The House of Representative and the Senate don’t always agree on everything and often disagree on the exact details of a bill. Before a bill can be sent to the President and signed into law, it must pass both the House and the Senate with the exact same language. If a bill passed in the House is different than the version passed in the Senate (or vice versa) the two chambers must find a way to work their differences out. This can be achieved two ways – agreeing on the changes through amendments or by forming a conference committee.

A conference committee is made up of both House and Senate members who are tasked with coming to an agreement on the differences between both versions of a bill.

Conference committees are generally used for bigger pieces of legislation, such as tax reform. For example, the House and Senate have both recently proposed separate tax bills. While they have the same goal, these bills differ in a variety of ways. If both bills pass their respective chambers, they will be sent to the other chamber for consideration. At that point, they can either pass the other chamber’s bill or request a conference to work out the differences.

If a conference committee is called, the members responsible for negotiating the final piece of legislation are chosen. The Speaker of the House will choose the members from the House of Representatives, and the presiding officer will choose the members from the Senate. Usually, these individuals come from the committees or subcommittees where the legislation originated.

Once the conference committee is established, the negotiations begin. The committee must create a piece of legislation that can pass both the House and Senate. A majority of the conference members from both the House and Senate must agree to the new negotiated bill. After negotiations, the committee must release a joint statement explaining why some parts of previous bills are not included in the current bill. The new bill has to be voted on and pass both chambers before it can be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

Conference committees are useful when it comes to passing comprehensive legislation and avoiding bills moving back-and-forth between the House and Senate. It allows for both sides to come together and talk differences out in a more practical way.

Sentencing memorandum: Blake Altman told investigators he looked at child pornography to "get in the mood"

Less than two weeks before the sentencing of Blake Altman on child pornography charges, the government made it clear it does not agree with defense attorneys' request that the Neosho businessman be placed on probation.

In a sentencing memorandum filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Assistant U. S. Attorney James Kelleher noted that Altman "repeatedly accessed child pornography sites' from 2001 to 2013 and that his two driving while intoxicated arrests combined with his desire for child pornography made for "a dangerous combination.

Kelleher included a transcript of Altman's initial interrogation by members of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, in which Altman admitted his attraction to young girls, including using the term "pre-teen" when he was searching for new material.

Asked if he ever masturbated to the material, Altman said, "I don't know if I ever actually did because it was more to kind of look up some stuff and then I guess kind of get in the mood type thing."

Altman told the Task Force officers what he was looking for when he used the child pornography file sharing services.

"I was just wanting something, something new to look at besides browsing through the same old stuff."

Though Altman told the investigators his preference was for photos of girls around the age of 14, the materials they found on his computers showed children much younger, according to the court documents, including a photo of an approximately five-year-old girl having sex with an adult male.

Other photos included pre-school age children and bestiality, according to the documents.

Altman's attorneys Dee Wampler and Joseph Passanise of Springfield in a sentencing memorandum filed July 26 asked for probation for their client, saying he could go undergo counseling and treatment and said they were concerned Altman might not be safe in prison.

Kelleher said Altman could receive counseling and treatment in prison and noted it would not be sending a good message for someone who admitted he was "interested in younger looking girls with a preference for age 14," who had been downloading child pornography to not receive any prison time.

The government is seeking at least a 15-month sentence for Altman.

The sentencing is scheduled for November 29 in Springfield.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Agenda posted for Monday Joplin City Council meeting

JOPLIN CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
November 20, 2017
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers
1.

Call To Order

Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America
2.

Roll Call

3.

Presentations

1.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, By Jan Schumacher, Missouri Energy Initiative

4.

Finalization Of Consent Agenda

5.

Reports And Communications

6.

Citizen Requests And Petitions

7.

Public Hearings

8.

Consent Agenda

1.

Minutes Of The November 6, 2017 Council Meeting

Documents:
  1. CC MINS 11-6.PDF
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017 - 278

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by designating the Lincoln School Site as an Historic Landmark and include in a Historic Preservation Overlay District as described below and located 85’ north of East 7th Street and 20’ east of South Minnesota Avenue in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017 - 279

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-and including in District C-1 property as described below and in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017 - 280

AN ORDINANCE providing for the vacation of approximately 510 feet of 6th Street, a 60-foot wide designated right of way, in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
9.

Resolutions

10.

Ordinances - Emergency

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-167

AN ORDINANCE approving a Work Authorization with Allgeier-Martin & Associates Inc., in an amount not to exceed Thirty-Six Thousand Five Hundred and No/100 Dollars ($36,500.00) for engineering services associated with the Zora & Schifferdecker water line relocation project 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.
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-524

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2011-001 authorizing the issuance of not to exceed $26,000,000 principal amount of sewerage system revenue bonds (State of Missouri – Direct Loan Program) Series 2011A of the City of Joplin, Missouri, and containing an emergency clause.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-525

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2014-134 authorizing the issuance of not to exceed $3,282,000 principal amount of sewerage system revenue bonds (State of Missouri – Direct Loan Program) Series 2014 of the City of Joplin, Missouri, and containing an emergency clause.
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-526

AN ORDINANCE amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 as adopted by Ordinance 2017-167 on October 16, 2017, to adjust appropriations and containing an emergency clause.
11.

Ordinances - First Reading

12.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading

13.

Unfinished Business

14.

New Business

1.

News From The PIO

2.

CLOSED SESSION

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, more specifically, for the purpose of evaluating certain Council employees and discussing the hiring for a new City Clerk; as set forth in Section 610.021(3) RSMo, as amended, 2016. 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

Hartzler: GOP tax plan is a big step in the right direction

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Today Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) made the following statement on the House's passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1):

"Today we voted to bring tax relief to hard-working families in Missouri and across the United States who, for too long, have had to focus on just getting by instead of getting ahead. This tax plan simplifies the tax code, allows Missouri families to keep more of their paychecks, and enables American businesses to grow, expand, and compete again in the world. It focuses on families by enhancing the child tax credit, allowing deductions for higher education, and maintaining the adoption tax credit. There are still provisions in this bill we can work to improve, like those affecting graduate students, but it is a big step in the right direction. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue refining this bill to bring the American people the tax relief they deserve."

Highlights of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Roughly doubles the standard deduction so hard-working Americans take can take home larger paychecks (under the new plan, the first $12,000 of an individual’s income would be tax-free, the first $18,000 of a single parent’s income would be tax free, and the first $24,000 of a couple’s income would be tax-free).
  • Increases child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 to help parents with the cost of raising children.
  • Preserves the adoption tax credit.
  • Maintains the deduction for charitable contributions.
  • Preserves the home mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages and newly purchased homes up to $500,000, providing tax relief to current and aspiring homeowners.
  • Reduces corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% so businesses can grow and hire more employees.
  • Reduces small business tax rate to the lowest it’s been since World War II.

To learn more about the GOP tax plan, please visit www.fairandsimple.gop or text TAX REFORM to 50589.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Graves: Elimination of death tax will save the family farm

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

A famous quote says, “There’s nothing certain in life except death and taxes.”

It’s ironic and infuriating then that the government taxes your death. It’s known as the “Death Tax” or the “Estate Tax” or the “Inheritance Tax” and it applies to anything you might hope to pass on such as money, equipment, or land to your loved ones. No matter what you call it, a tax that kicks in when you die is absurd. It’s not the government’s money to begin with!

Farmers are hit especially hard by the death tax. After a lifetime of acquiring land and equipment to help provide food for the world, farmers are subjected to an additional tax on their estate when they die. The real effect of this double, and sometimes triple, taxation is felt by the late farmer’s family.

While many folks receive an inheritance in the form of a check or stocks and bonds, the family farmer passes on his life’s work and ensures that farming continues as a way of life in North Missouri and around the country.

It’s no wonder that our kids and grandkids aren’t choosing to farm when they grow up. It’s expensive enough to get a farming operation off the ground, much less keep it in the family after giving part of it to the government.

I believe your death shouldn’t be a taxable event. Farmers shouldn’t work all of their life, saving and paying taxes, just to have the government show up with another bill for them and their family when they die.

That’s why a crucial part of tax reform is getting rid of the death tax. We’ve been able to increase the amount exempted from the tax in the past but that’s not enough. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will provide immediate relief from the death tax by doubling the earnings exemption with a full elimination of the tax after six years.

As a sixth-generation family farmer and small businessman, I know firsthand the importance of tax reform. Meaningful tax reform must benefit rural Missourians and our plan does just that. We’ve waited more than 30 years; it’s time for a tax system that benefits everyone.