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Group helps those around Neosho struggling with addiction

NEOSHO, Mo. — Residents in and around Neosho, who are struggling with addiction, have a place to go.

The faith-based support group, Living Free, hosts meetings on Tuesday nights. It runs from 6 to 7 at the Talkington Foundation Recovery Center.

It’s located at 209 North Valley Street in Neosho.

Call Jeff at 417-451-2980 or email at jhigginsatc4s@gmail.com for more information.


Neosho High School seniors paint the hill

NEOSHO, Mo. — Seniors at Neosho High School were all about graffiti Monday.

No worries – it was all part of a plan. All part of Neosho tradition.

Neosho High School seniors are keeping a yearly tradition alive on senior hill. The 2021 graduating class started their artistic work this morning at 9.

Brylee King, Senior, “It feels great especially the last tradition that we’ve had before we graduated so most of us, this will be the last we see each other do its fun last experience that we can do together.”

“I’m painting a crown–my last name’s king so I’d thought that be really fun.”

King hopes to pursue a career in education after she graduates.

“I’m going to Freed-Hardeman University it’s in Henderson, Tennessee so a long ways from here but I’m really excited.”

Last year, students waited until July to paint the hill due to the pandemic.

Trent Barratt, Neosho High School Principal, said, “I know it’s been a long tradition 20 years ago whenever I was a high school senior here we painted the hill and it’s just a fun experience and it’s a tradition here in Neosho that other schools don’t have.”

Some of the seniors even brought their parents.

“They bring all their own equipment to paint we do provide sand because we ask them to mix their paint with their paint with that for the road.”

“Traditionally we know they would come down and paint their space whatever for the background about a couple hours later they would paint the rest of it, whatever design they chose.”

The weather wasn’t on their side, but it didn’t stop seniors from having a good time.

“I would say different but exciting, the teachers have worked really hard to make this an enjoyable year for us even though masks and covid is never fun but we’ve enjoyed each time together and we’ve been able to do most of the stuff we’ve always done,” said King


Freeman Health System celebrates National Hospital Week

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — This week is National Hospital Week – and Freeman Health System is celebrating all of its employees on all of its campuses.

It partnered with Kona Ice Monday to give employees the chance to enjoy snow cones. A portion of the proceeds are going towards the health system’s chaplain fund – so it can help patients in many different ways, like car rides, food, clothing – even shelter.

Ryan Melton, Director Of Service Excellence, said, “Our goal is to make life better for our community to improve their health which is t’s our mission and so we can do that through to give great medication, great care and snow cones.”

The snow cone truck also made stops today at Freeman locations in Joplin and Webb City.


Kansas COVID restriction relief bill for businesses awaits decision from governor

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Hundreds of millions of dollars could be heading to Kansas businesses.

Kansas lawmakers say they are trying to help those that have suffered during the pandemic. Both sides of the Kansas Legislature passed a bill last week that is aimed at doing that. Any Kansas business with 50 or fewer full-time employees that was impacted by coronavirus restrictions since March 2020 could apply for the money.

The governor’s stay-at-home order at the beginning of the crisis lasted five weeks, which resulted in many businesses shutting their doors. Communities then put restrictions on hours and capacity limits in place impacting companies’ profits.

It’s estimated 500 million dollars could be up for grabs. That comes from federal relief bills.

The recently-passed Kansas proposal would make it so a three-person council, one member selected by the governor and two by legislative leaders, would set the guidelines of how the money will be dispersed. Supporters said the plan not only helps businesses that have seen revenues go down, but that it’s fair.

“Those private businesses were part of the solution that the government thought that they should do,” said Alan Cobb, CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s relatively simple that, ‘hey we want to stop the pandemic, certain businesses, right, just certain, you have to shut your doors,’ so they should be compensated for it.”

Opponents worry some businesses could have an unfair advantage if the three-person council favors them compared to others.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Laura Kelly’s office said the governor has not received the bill yet. Kelly can decide to sign, veto, or let it become law without her signature.


Area employer provides second chances

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s not all that unusual to see area restaurants displaying help wanted signs. But one may have found a solution to the manpower shortage. In fact, in this instance, you could say it’s simple.

Many of the employees of the Simple Simon’s restaurant on St. Louis and Broadway in Joplin have something in common. It’s called a 2nd chance.

Rose Greenfeather, Simple Simon’s Employee, said, “This place has helped me tremendously.”

An example is Rose Greenfeather who’s about to celebrate her 4th anniversary of working at the restaurant and her fifth anniversary of being clean and sober. She can’t say enough about the couple who owns and operates the business for taking a chance on her and others in the same situation.

“It can be hard for people in recovery or people coming out of incarceration to maintain a job just because people are very judgmental and so I think it’s helped us a lot because we do have so many people in recovery here that people feel comfortable and we surround our people with you know we just support them and pray over them and encourage them.”

Jennifer Johnson, Owner, Manager, Simple Simon’s Pizza, said, “When Mike and I bought the restaurant we kind of wanted it to be an outreach and community and community service, geared towards helping people.”

Johnson says the vast majority of the employees they give a 2nd chance to, not only work out, but become some of their best employees.

“Rose is my family, definitely, I actually, every one of my employees I really feel is part of my family, and we have a family atmosphere here so we all try to work for each other and towards helping each other when somebody’s going through something they’re all welcomed to call me.”


Mental health as first aid

JOPLIN, Mo. — A unique skill set is changing how many approach a mental health emergency. It’s designed to help the average person know what to do for someone in crisis, before they can get that person to a mental health professional.

In the next part of our series The Suicide Crisis: Prevention, Information, and Awareness, we learn more about mental health first aid.

Freeman Health Ozark Center’s Community Support Specialist Kevin Walker is teaching a handful of participants about what’s known as mental health first aid.

Kevin Walker, Ozark Center Community Support Specialist, said, “Mental health first aid helps people to become aware and knowledgeable on what to do in a psycological crisis. A mental health crisis.”

It’s a program that began in Australia in the early 2000’s. It’s been especially prominent in the Joplin community since the 2011 tornado.

“A program like this, to help people respond — community members who may have no training in mental health whatsoever.”

David Auernheimer, Class Participant, said, “More recently I came across a young mother, and her boyfriend, and two young children.”

David Auernheimer is a U.S. Forest Service Senior Firefighter and knows how helpful this skillset can be.

David Auernheimer, Class Participant, said, “I just got renewel of my CPR and First Aid, and a lot of people take that and that’s for your body. Why wouldn’t we want to also have first aid for the mind?”

Ozark Center Employee Belinda Kirkland is also participating in the class.

Belina Kirkland, Class Participant, said, “I think it’s all about understanding who the person is, what’s they’re going through and how you can help them.”

“There has been and continues to be a stigma attached to people who have mental health problems or who are experiencing mental health problems,” said Walker.

Walker says that’s one of the goals — to nonjudgementally understand what someone in crisis is going through, then actively use those first aid skills.

“We really want people to think about the use of language, how that impacts somebody who may have a mental health issue.”

“Knowing the signs. Knowing what available treatment is out there,” said Kirkland.

Think of an analogy to CPR.

“Just like the person performing CPR out in the community probably isn’t a doctor, right? They’re performing some life saving procedures until the ambulance can get there, or the emergency responders can get there, and get that person to the hospital for the help that they do need,” said Walker.

Similarly, someone trained in mental health first aid can get a person in crisis the help they need.

“Just knowing that somebody is there that is aware of what’s going on can be extremely calming, as well.”

If you know anyone struggling with their mental health and they need someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk. We also have more resources for you on four states home page dot com — just search for our suicide crisis tab.


Joplin City Council holds work session

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin City Council is reviewing its list of projects for 2021.

City council heard the reviews of ideas from citizens committees. The groups came up with suggestions about which projects are most important.

Nick Edwards, City Manager, said, “I think Joplin as a community could use a space like Memorial Hall.”

The Finance Oversight Committee reviewed the feasibility study for Memorial Hall. They decided a community center facility is important for the city.

“The next step ultimately will be put to voters to decide as to whether or not they want to renovate Memorial Hall with an addition through property tax. I heard from the community and one of the things the city has a need for is entertainment.”

If the renovation is approved — the committee wants to have a way to finance non-routine maintenance. They also want the city council to allocate funding to create more parking. One of the recommended parks projects is to install security lighting and cameras at eleven parks.

“There were a lot of comments from the community that they would like our parks to feel safer. So by adding lighting and cameras thats one way to deliver that.”

The city will now prepare ballot information for the parks and stormwater sales tax renewal. Next Monday City Council members will vote on the proposed ballots.


SMB makes donation towards Duquesne city park

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — A local community is one step closer to its dreams of having a city park coming true.

Southwest Missouri Bank presented the city of Duquesne with a $10,000 check for the park at this evening’s city council meeting. Plans are for the park to be located right next to city hall and include a playground, splash pad, and walking trail. This isn’t the first time the bank has given to the city — they’ve also donated property for road expansions.

Tracy Crider, Senior Vice President/Branch Manager, Southwest Missouri Bank Duquesne Branch, said, “Southwest Missouri Bank really enjoys partnering with our communities — especially our small communities. We try to do a lot for their citizens and we’re always happy to help, whether it’s with people or money or other type of donations.”

Plans are for the park to also include a memorial for those who lost their lives in the 2011 tornado.


National Nurses Week

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s National Nurses Week — and Freeman Health System is celebrating by giving its nurses a day of pampering.

Food, therapy dogs, giveaways, and even a massage were on the agenda for nurses this afternoon. Nursing leaders say it’s more important than ever to give back to their staff — especially in the uncharted territory of the covid-19 pandemic.

Jeanee Kennedy, Chief Nursing Officer, said, “Our nurses have worked incredibly hard over the last 12-plus months. Under really hard circumstances, they come to work and they give their all every single shift, so this is an opportunity for our nursing leadership and our organization to give back to them to show them how much we’ve appreciated everything that they’ve done for our community, our patients and our organization over the last 12 months.”

The American Nurses Association’s theme for this year is excelling, leading and innovating.


Southwest Missouri teachers recognized in Golden Apple awards

JOPLIN, Mo. — Four teachers in the Joplin School District are being recognized for their hard work.

This afternoon the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce announced its 2021 Golden Apple Award Recipients.

The winners are Stephanie reither from Cecil Floyd Elementary, Kathy Nicodemus from Irving Elementary, Cheryl Sieber from North Middle School and Syeda Greenlee from Joplin High School were given a crystal apple.

Reither has been a teacher for 22 years and was nominated several times — but this is her first win.

Stephanie Reither, Cecil Floyd Elementary Teacher, said, “Its been a long time and I just want to dedicate this for my family and my grandmother especially who taught kindergarten her whole life and wasn’t recognized in any kind of way.”

This year the twelve finalists were given a $140 gift card for their hard work. The donation was in honor of Kathleen Keisner who was a former teacher and Golden Apple nominee.