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Neosho businesses attend student showcase

NEOSHO, Mo. — Some Neosho students wore their best suits and dresses to showcase their skills to local businesses.

The high school juniors and seniors are in Newcaps program – and have been working on projects that align with something they have an interest in. Each student created boards and talked with local business partners about what they’ve done this year.

The program gives students a look at how careers are after they graduate.

Michelle Lindsay, Senior, said, “I wish I could’ve gotten into this program last year. but covid-19 happened and it canceled that opportunity. But this experience was probably life changing for me it’s going to help me be very successful in my future.”

During the showcase, one senior was awarded a $500 scholarship by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce.

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McDonald County Chamber launches new event

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — The McDonald County Chamber of Commerce is launching a new monthly event.

Starting May 15th, the chamber will hold a Sip n Sweat. The short run around the city will take place on the second Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m. at the coffee shop on 308 Harmon Street in Pineville.

It’s $10 to sign up and all proceeds go toward the student chamber of commerce scholarships. After each run, there will be free coffee and snacks at the coffee shop.

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Oklahoma celebrates tourism

OKLAHOMA — National travel and tourism week is also being celebrated in Oklahoma. And Miami has something to say about it.

Amanda Markey Park Naturalist at Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park, said, “Well Oklahoma is OK of course. That was always the logo or slogan when I was a kid was Oklahoma is okay. So I just really. I’ve grown up here born and raised in Northeast Oklahoma and Oklahoma is home.”

Amanda Markey is a Park Naturalist at Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park. She is educating tourists at the Miami Travel Information Center for Travel OK Days”

“So as they walk into the building those that are interested will come over and I will educate them on every artifact that we have over here that they are interested in as general questions. We are also passing out our Oklahoa State Park passport program which is a travel and health initiative to get people out into our parks exploring.”

Markey even brought a friend.

“I have Opel the opossum she is with us at the Bernice Nature Center as a non releasable rehilibiatated animal because she is a genetic mutation and has a decrease in color pigmentation which leaves her lucidistic.”

The event gives tourists an opportunity to plan their next Oklahoma adventure.

“Tourism is the number 3 economic driver for the state so we have it brings in about $9.7 billion a year in visitor spending. It’s-it’s enduring it’s not as effective by oil and gas or agriculture are. There are so many great things to see and do.”

Representatives from different businesses were on hand to answer any questions tourists had.

“So we have the Coleman Theater here with us and the city of Claremore and then we have the travel ok we’re trip planners so our team.”

It’s all in a effort to show what the sooner state has to offer.

Jennifer Mullins Director of Travel and Promotion, “Well I think that makes Oklahoma so special and I’ve lived in 8 states. Throughout the U.S. is our people. Is our people. And we are touted as the friendliest and I think we really try to live up to that.”

Travel OK days continues Saturday. The event also features live music and food trucks.

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Webb City working to develop city parks

WEBB CITY, Mo. — A Southwest Missouri parks department is putting its best foot forward as more and more spring activities are underway.

Kids in Webb City may soon have a new option to get outside and play.

Tom Reeder, WC Parks & Rec, said, “A new neighborhood built by Shuber Mitchell and they donated space for a park.”

The as-yet unnamed park sits at Oak Way Drive and Matthews Circle on the north side of town. The city council is considering options for playground equipment, something they want to make sure is the right fit.

“What we tried to do was renovate our parks and blend them into the neighborhoods, so that they would, they would fit in and not necessarily stand out. So park has its own personality.”

Changes are also in the works at other Webb City parks. That includes improvements near an iconic statue.

“We are building a new small pavilion behind the praying hands monument area for people to park and to have their lunches out here.”

Also, more space for shoppers on the east side of King Jack Park.

“We’re expanding our parking for the farmers market it’s, It’s growing with leaps and bounds every year. We’ve made a new exit out of our parking lot to help with our traffic flow,

And baseball teams will see a new and improved playing field, now re-named Domino’s Field.

“So we’ve been busy. Renovating that field, bringing it up to some new standards

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Cherokee County to host another food distribution event

CHEROKEE COUTNY, Ks. — After success last month, Cherokee County’s Community Food Drive-Thru event is ready to get back at it.

Another one will take place on Tuesday. There are 7 different locations.

Officials will start distributing food boxes 9 a.m., and will stay until they run out. Food boxes include meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, and milk.

It is first-come first serve.

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Kansas tourism looking to rebound in 2021

KASNAS — This week, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a proclamation to highlight one key element to economic recovery in the state.

Devin Gorman, Crawford County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, “This year is the power of travel and I don’t think that can be underestimated on what that impact looked like last year from the pandemic.”

This week, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a proclamation making it National Travel and Tourism Week. Not only to serve as a point of pride, but also an economic motivator for one of the state’s biggest source of business.

“It’s the ninth largest industry within the state of Kansas, here in Crawford County tourism for pre-pandemic numbers supported over a thousand jobs brought over 86 million dollars into our community.”

And over seven billion dollars into the state. The proclamation recognizes 2021 as the year of rebuilding growth for Kansas travel. An effort seemingly more possible as people get out of their homes.

Joe Manns, Big Brutus Manager, said, “We finished the year last year, from August to December with 9,000 people, I think already this year we’re at five pushing six thousand and we haven’t even begun the busy part of our year.”

Seeing the return of visitors, many events are planned at local attractions.

Vic Boccia, Big Brutus Founder, said, “This upcoming event could have three to five thousand people here, and you multiply that times all of the things they have, goods and services to have a good time here and that means a boom to the local economy.”

Joe Manns, Big Brutus Manager, said, “Even in our little town West Mineral here, we’re seeing a little bit of activity here as far as businesses, albeit they’re small, but businesses expanding here as well.”

Helping to return business to what communities remember.

“Hotel numbers even have gotten back to a level where we were at in the end of 2019, so the recovery is happening pretty quickly here and hopefully continues into the spring and summer time,” sadi Gorman.

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Noel area residents work to keep streams clean

NOEL, Mo. — Every year, thousands of people converge on Noel for Memorial Day weekend. But some work needs to be done to prepare for the big weekend.

Mayor Terry Lance, said, “Most years they try and do a cleanup early in the spring to pick up trash as well as look for and try to eliminate major brush piles, things like that that might be a danger to the floaters.”

But due to the past year we’ve had, it’s been harder to do.

“Because of the Covid outbreak it just hasn’t gone last year, or this year, like most years. It’s just a little bit unhandier and it might pose a little bit more dangerous for some of the floaters who aren’t as experienced.

Even with the covid outbreak, Memorial Day weekend will go on, and workers at River Ranch are doing what they can to keep the area clean. But one employee says the community needs to do its part, too.

Trent Elik – River Ranch Employee, said, “The importance of keeping this river safe and clean is by using your red bags, throwing away your trash, no glass bottles either because it’s not allowed on the river. This river has been here a long time, and we just want to keep it clean.”

Trent adds, it’s important to do this because of the amount of people that come to the town.

“Noel is a beautiful place, and we attract a lot of tourists, especially our river, so we like keeping it clean and everyone has a good time.”

While Trent says it’s important to keep the river clean for the holiday weekend, Mayor Lance says people should always be doing their part.

“Anytime and every time, and not just Memorial weekend, it’s your city and your stream as well as it’s mine. Take ownership, take pride and every day to help keep it clean,” said Lance.

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Chlorine prices on the rise as Summer approaches

FOUR STATE AREA — Pool owners across the Four States may be in for quite a surprise when it’s time to open it that backyard oasis.

If you use these to keep your pool clean, expect to have to dig deeper into you pocket to pay for them, that is if you can find them.

Mike Goettel, Aquatics Director, Joplin Family Y, said, “It’s sparse and it’s expensive.”

Two factors have led to a shortage of chlorine tablets across the country.

“Several factors, one being when people were hunkered in during the pandemic, they built swimming pools, so there are more home pools now.”

The other being a recent fire at one of the country’s few tablet manufacturing plants in Louisiana – which won’t be open again until this time next year. Goettel says the shortage won’t affect the Joplin YMCA.

“Our pool runs on liquid chlorine, so this pool will not be affected, but our outdoor pool, we run the city pool in Carl Junction, Bulldog Beach, and it runs on solid chlorine, but luckily we’ve already bought that for the season, we’re stocked up.”

Usually by this time Shelly Taylor’s pool is open for the Summer, but cool temperatures and a lot of rain has pushed that back by a few weeks. She’s fortunate though, her pool can run off solid or liquid chlorine.

Shelly Taylor, Pool Owner, said, “I’m sure it will be more expensive once the tablets are gone possibly, we’re gonna have to use the liquid, so it’s always an expensive endeavor, to run the pool in the Summer.”

But other backyard pool owners may not be so fortunate, and may have to make an expensive adjustment on the type of chlorine product they use, and Goettel doesn’t suggest doing it yourself.

“So I wouldn’t try and switch your home system over, I would definitely call a pool company and have them do the switch for you, but around, I would say around or a little above two thousand dollar mark for a switch is what you’re looking at,” said Goettel.

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Joplin company recognizes volunteers

JOPLIN, Mo. — A big thank you to one company’s volunteers came in the form of a cookout Thursday.

Hospice Campassus held the event outside its East 32nd street location over the lunch hour. Volunteer Coordinator Teresa Severs says cooking hot dogs and hamburgers is the least she can do for everything volunteers do for her clients.

Teresa Severs, Volunteer Coordinator, Hospice Compassus, said, “We’re just having a cook out here for to show some appreciation for volunteers, they do an amazing job all year long, visiting patients, helping in our office, running deliveries and so we just wanted have a cookout and show our appreciation to them.”

Severs says the company usually has a banquet for volunteers – but it had to be postponed this year due to the pandemic.

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Many looking forward to Summer travel

FOUR STATE AREA — More and more travelers are planning trips this summer, especially given changes in CDC recommendations about vacationing safely.

Audrey Johnson, Webb City Traveler, said, “We just try to decide whether to fly or drive.”

Audrey Johnson has a long list of questions for a family vacation this summer.

“We’re going to Bend Oregon for my sister’s wedding so she’s getting married this year it’s gonna be very small wedding, but we are making the trip there.”

But she knows it won’t be like trips in past years.

“Obviously anytime we’re in a closed area or anything, we’ll be wearing masks.”

And that’s one of the top recommendations for travelers hitting the road this year.

Ryan Talken, Joplin Health Director, said, “Of course social distancing hygiene means washing hands hand sanitizers and such.”

Also, avoiding large indoor gatherings. Health experts say the top priority is getting vaccinated before traveling.

“Your best chance at not only protecting yourself but also protecting others.”

And if you’re considering a destination outside the US, do your homework.

“The CDC website has a really good travel advisory page, and it shows case rates and kind of a color code system for various low locations across the globe.”