Missouri falls behind in Covid-19 vaccination rates for nursing home employees

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. –Around 82% percent of nursing home residents in Missouri have been vaccinated, Compared to nursing home staff, where currently only 48% have been vaccinated, according to the CDC. 

Those state numbers mirror local nursing home vaccine rates.

“It’s about what the state and national one is, about 47% of our staff that are vaccinated,” said Michael Harrison, administrator for the Joplin Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Residents at the Joplin Health and Rehabilitation Center remain around 77% vaccinated, which is still close to state numbers.

Larry Bergner, administrator with the Newton County Health Department stresses the importance of nursing home workers being vaccinated.

 “A lot of the healthcare workers and nursing home employees have lower vaccination rates than some other employers and so we certainly want everyone that’s eligible to be vaccinated to get vaccinated but we would certainly also want  those folks who are directly working with the elderly, the immunocompromised, those who are sick,  we want those people especially to get vaccinated so that they don’t put themselves or others at risk,” Bergner said.

To boost these vaccine rates, the federal government announced they will require nursing home staff to be vaccinated to continue receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.

“So I think we will be seeing more mandated vaccinations from some employers, just out of fear that perhaps federal money may be withheld at some point in time,” Bergner said.

With this potential mandate, the nursing home says they’ll continue different methods of vaccine incentives, but hope to work with federal agencies to come up with rules that everyone can embrace.

“We’re continuing to encourage vaccinations, were hoping for some exceptions, some ways we can get around that because we just, its just kind of hard to believe that we would turn  away fifty percent of the people…in the past 18 months have been considered heroes, and just turn them out into other industries. if they’re not here they’re not taking care of our loved ones either,” said Harrison. 

Talented Chanute squad enters season with high expectations

CHANUTE, Kan. – The Chanute Blue Comets are just three days away from their season opener. Chanute hits the road on Friday night to play the Circle Thunderbirds in their first game of the season.

2020 was an up-and-down season for Chanute. The team finished with a 3-4 overall record last season, after going 9-2 and making an appearance in the state quarterfinals back in 2019.

The Comets are aiming to bounce back in 2021, and expectations are high.

“Our expectations are really high this year,” says head coach Clete Frazell, “We think this could be a great team. The 2019 season felt similar. Last year we had high expectations, but the season didn’t go quite as planned with injuries and COVID. The sky is the limit for this group. They can be special. It’s just going to take them coming together and becoming a team to make that happen.”

“Almost everyone playing now has been in a varsity position before,” says senior Kam Koester, “It just gives a big boost to our team.”

Chanute’s high expectations come from having 16 seniors, plenty of experience returning from last year and a talented group of skill players.

“We have a three-year starter in Kam Koester that’s a senior at wide receiver. At left slot we have Kaden Seamster. He’s been ranked highly on some recruiting profiles and things like that as an athlete. He’ll be our left slot,” Frazell continues on the rest of his skill guys, “Ty Leedy is a state champion wrestler, he’ll be in the right slot. He’s been phenomenal so far and he’s going to be a big spark for our team. On the other side we have Dagen Dean. He’s been to a lot of camps and combines and he’s a special kid. He really looks the part. He’s 6-3, 200 pounds and he’s a really athletic kid. We got those guys at receiver, then we have Jackson Coombs back at running back after an injury last year. Our quarterback Eric Erbe is special. He’s been all overt the country to football camps, and he’s going to have a great season.”

Motivated Gorillas to meet #13 UCM in season opener Thursday

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State Gorillas will open up the season on Thursday, hitting the road to face Central Missouri.

It’s a big one for the Gorillas right off the bat, facing a UCM team that finished 2nd in the MIAA in 2019, and is ranked #13 in the nation in the AFCA preseason poll.

Thursday’s opener is a nice test for a PSU squad that’s picked to finish 7th in the MIAA by the league’s coaches.

“We got picked 7th in the conference in the coaches poll. That’s what we’re looking at right now and using that as motivation,” says senior DE Kaden Roy, “The national rankings don’t really matter to us. Every day we wake up and see that we were ranked #7 in the league. That’s what’s been driving us these last few weeks. Right now we’re just focused on what we can control. If they happen to be ranked where they’re ranked, so be it. We’re looking forward to that test.”

“It’s definitely a motivating factor, that other coaches look at us as an average team,” says QB Mak Sexton, “We got some stuff to prove. We’re definitely going to go out and try to make a statement with this game. Like Kaden said, we can only control what we can control. If we go out there and don’t perform well, that’s on us and maybe they were right. We have people to prove wrong, but we also have people to prove right here in our own community who are rooting for us.”

Thursday’s game will also be Pitt State’s first MIAA conference game under head coach Brian Wright, and their first game in front of a packed stadium since 2019.

“That’s going to be exciting. That’s something that you take for granted I think, if you play football for a long time,” Roy says of playing in front of a full stadium, “The crowd is just there and you feed off that energy, but when it’s not there it’s definitely noticeable. It’s going to be nice to have that back and be able to feed off the crowd and the noise. It’s going to be exciting.”

Hurricane Ida: Missouri National Guard members are headed to Louisiana to help with recovery efforts

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KOLR) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson is sending members of the Missouri National Guard to help with recovery efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida hit the state. The Missouri National Guard is deploying about 300 soldiers to assist, according to the Governor’s office. Soldiers from Kansas City and Fort Leonard Wood are headed to Louisiana for this mission.

“As our fellow states never fail to come to our aid in times of need, we are proud to answer this call to provide relief to our friends in Louisiana,” Governor Parson said in a news release Tuesday, August 31. “Americans helping Americans and neighbor helping neighbor is what keeps our nation strong. Our professionals in the Missouri National Guard are the best of the best and have the resources, skills, and training necessary to help Louisiana recover and come back stronger than ever. Teresa and I are praying for the state of Louisiana and all her people as they begin to recover from Hurricane Ida’s devastation and destruction.”

Missouri’s Emergency Management Agency received a request for help from the state of Louisiana. This request was made through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement among states that allows for the sharing of critical resources.

The Missouri National Guard will provide assistance in the form of humanitarian support, sharing equipment, and moving debris. The 300 Guard members are expected to be in Louisiana for up to 14 days.

Barton County Community Foundation launches vaccine initiative & announces upcoming events

BARTON COUNTY, Mo. — The Barton County Community Foundation (BCCF) is teaming up with the BC Health Department and local charity organizations to help vaccinate area residents and fundraise.

BCCF, Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO), as well as Cox Health Barton County are working with the health department to provide vaccines in the area at multiple locations:

  • BC Health Department — Mon – Fri ; 8 AM – 4 PM, by Appt. 682-3363
  • Cox BC Hospital — Mon 10 AM -12 PM ; Fri 9 AM – 1 PM, by Appt. 681-5266 [Pfizer]
  • Auburn Pharmacy — Fri 10 AM – 3:45 PM [Moderna]
  • Wal-Mart Pharmacy –Mon – Fri 9 AM – 8 PM ; Sat 9 AM – 7 PM ; Sun 10 AM – 4 PM, Walk in or Schedule at walmart.com/covidvaccine [Pfizer & Moderna]

In addition to vaccine clinics, BCCF is also inviting residents to a ‘Lunch & Learn on Volunteerism, Leadership & Community Engagement’ next Wednesday, September 8th.

The one-hour lunch program will “provide tips and info on volunteerism, leadership, collaboration with community partners and community engagement,” according to a release.

Later in October an annual fundraising Gala will also be hosted by BCCF. More information on that event can be found below:

Gene Simmons tests positive for COVID-19, Kiss postpones concerts

(NEXSTAR) – Kiss revealed frontman Gene Simmons has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the band to postpone even more of its tour dates. He is experiencing “mild symptoms,” according to a statement from Kiss.

Fellow band member Paul Stanley also tested positive for the virus last week, which prompted its own round of cancellations.

He has since recovered, the band said on Twitter. Stanley said all band and crew members have been vaccinated against the virus.

“The band and their crew have operated in a bubble to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows. The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines,” Stanley tweeted last week.

The band said all members and crew will be staying home and isolating for 10 days. They expect the tour to resume on Sept. 9 in Irvine, Calif.

Tour dates in Clarkston, Michigan; Dayton, Ohio; Tinley Park, Illinois; and Milwaukee have all been postponed. Those shows don’t have new dates yet, but the band says all previously purchased tickets will be honored. Ticket holders will be emailed directly.

Webb City School District has a new app

WEBB CITY, Mo — The Webb City School District is hoping to connect with more of the community through its Cardinal app.

The application offers everything from enrollment and lunch menus to the school calendar. School leaders point out it covers anything you might find on the district website or social media…And it’s more convenient.

“Everyone’s got their phone. It’s just easier than to navigate, try to find our website and scroll through. You know those things don’t match up all the time real well on a browser, whereas the app, it’s made for that,” said Dr. Tony Rossetti, WC R-7 Superintendent.

The app goes by the name “Webb City School District.” It’s available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.

State Senator Mike Moon to run for congress

ASH GROVE, Mo. — A southwest Missouri lawmaker announces he’ll run for congress.

State Senator Mike Moon of Ash Grove plans to file for the 7th district seat. That position is currently held by Congressman Billy Long, who’s running for U.S. Senate.

Moon was first elected to the State House of Representatives in 2013, and then was elected to the Missouri Senate last year.

Cherokee County officials put moratorium on wind farm project

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Mo. — Cherokee County officials are putting a potential wind farm project on hold.

Commissioners have voted, unanimously, to put a one-year moratorium in place. It comes on the heels of a Texas company recenlty reaching out to the county to gauge interest in leasing land, which would house wind turbines.

Commissioners, last week, voiced their opposition on the project.

Many residents have also voiced their concerns. The plan, now, is to weigh the pros and cons for the next year.

“There will be a lot of study going on this year, a lot of land owners are looking at it, and that’s what this moratorium us for, is just to give us time to come up with the information, call the correct information that we would need,” said Kyle Rennie – Cherokee County Clerk

Officials say the moratorium could change, depending on the information they find.