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A local art exhibit is underway in Neosho

NEOSHO, Mo. — A local art exhibit is underway in Neosho.

The 26 annual Thomas Hart Benton Art Competition and Exhibition is at the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dozens of regional artists are competing for eight prizes in the professional and emerging artist categories.

Sarah Serio, President Of The Neosho Arts Council, says, “It has a nice rich history in our area and artist community. It honors one of Neosho’s native sons Thomas Hart Benton and works to give regional artists an opportunity to grow and exhibit their work in a competitive sport.”

The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. and is free and open to the public.

Next Saturday the guest judge will award the prizes and critique the winners.

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Kansas elementary school orders Chiefs footballs, receives the opposite

OLATHE, Kan. — Heritage Elementary School in Olathe ordered a set of Kansas City Chiefs themed footballs for students to use during PE.

When the package arrived, they were shocked to see that they actually received footballs covered in silver and black with the Las Vegas Raiders logo.

“You’re thinking, is this a joke? Or did Amazon do this on purpose?” Jay Parsons, PE teacher at Heritage, said. “I highly doubt it. I think it’s probably an honest mistake, but I’m thinking, we have some great Chiefs fans and we can’t have Raider Nation footballs in Chiefs Kingdom. We got to dispose of them somehow.”

Parson hopes some Chiefs fans will come to the rescue and make a donation to Olathe Public Schools Foundation to receive a Raiders football and dispose of as they see fit.

He is not sure where the efforts are with Amazon to replace them at this time.

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First Missouri county reaches 50% full vaccination

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Boone County, the home of the University of Missouri in Columbia, is the first county in the state to cross an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19. Half the county’s population is now fully vaccinated against the virus, according to state health officials.

Boone County and the city of Joplin are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its population fully vaccinated.

Vaccination is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 640,559 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 1,090 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 10,657 total deaths as of Monday, Sept. 4, an increase of 2 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.66%.

Please keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours.

State health officials report 52.2% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 63.4% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The state has administered 82,223 doses of vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

Eleven other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin, Atchison, Jackson, Cole, Gasconade, and Greene counties, as well as Kansas City, Independence, and St. Louis City.

Month Cumulative case-fatality rate
on the final day of the month
March 2020 1.06%
April 2020 4.35%
May 2020 4.71%
June 2020 4.71%
July 2020 2.52%
August 2020 1.81%
September 2020 1.68%
October 2020 1.65%
November 2020 1.28%
December 2020 1.41%
January 2021 1.47%
February 2021 1.66%
March 2021 1.74%
April 2021 1.74%
May 2021 1.77%
June 2021 1.77%
July 2021 1.70%
August 2021 1.68%
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 1,632; yesterday, it was 1,750. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 2,238. 

Approximately 48.9% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 80,121 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 55,103 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 44.9% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 9,532
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 6,660,875 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Sept. 5, 16.9% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has an 11.4% positivity rate as of Sept. 3. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, and 15.0% on Aug. 1.

As of Sept. 3, Missouri is reporting 2,037 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 2,181. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 17% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

On July 6, the 7-day rolling average for hospitalizations eclipsed the 1,000-person milestone for the first time in four months, with 1,013 patients. The 7-day average for hospitalizations had previously been over 1,000 from Sept. 16, 2020, to March 5, 2021.

On Aug. 5, the average eclipsed 2,000 patients for the first time in more than seven months. It was previously over 2,000 from Nov. 9, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2021.

The 2021 low point on the hospitalization average in Missouri was 655 on May 29.

Across the state, 579 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 16%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Sept. 4, the CDC identified 39,831,318 cases of COVID-19 and 644,848 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.62%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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Jasper County 9-1-1 emergency call center needs callers

JOPLIN, Mo. — More and more emergency dispatch centers are seeing “help wanted” signs.

The Jasper County 9-1-1 call center has seen openings staying at three to four positions. The Joplin city dispatch currently has five positions unfilled.

They’re just part of an industry-wide trend that has national rates at 15 – 20 percent. The Jasper County dispatch director says the job requires a unique set of skills.

“All where people do everything call taking and dispatching and all the training takes quite a while and the job can be very stressful at times it’s very rewarding. So we are, we’re looking for that right person,” said April Ford, Jasper Co. Emergency Services.

For more on local dispatch hiring, click here.

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Fort Scott demonstrates artillery for Labor Day

FORT SCOTT, Kans. — People of Fort Scott and around the four states gathered at the Fort Scott National Historic Site for Labor Day.

Today, people who attended the park had the chance to take part in multiple labor day activities — including a “Mountain Howitzer” cannon artillery demonstration.

Before firing the civil war era cannon, people learned how it works, the purpose of it, and the type of ammunition used.

“A Mountain Howitzer was designed to be taken apart and to disassemble easily with mules holding the wheels and carriage. One mule holding the tube and one mule holding the limber chest which stocked all the ammunition for the gun,” said Barak Geertsen – Fort Scott National Historic Park Ranger.

Geertsen adds the cannon won’t be fired again until spring.

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Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist from Carl Junction

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — The list of finalists for Missouri Teacher of the Year includes a name from Carl Junction.

Rachel Hensley is one of seven educators from around the state to make the final cut before the overall winner is announced.

She’s a teacher for gifted students at the Carl Junction Junior High School. Hensley was one of about three dozen teachers named as a regional teacher of the year, a group that also included Gina Naas of the nevada school district.

The winner is expected to be announced next month.

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Magajupa Mine Alpacas farm open to public on Labor Day

JOPLIN, Mo. — A local alpaca farm stayed busy this labor day.

The Magajupa Mine Alpacas farm located on East 20th Street, invited people out to feed and take pictures with the animals. Admission was based off donations.

Along with feeding and taking pictures, visitors were also able to see alpaca made items on display made from their coat, and learn how fleece is made into wool.

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MO Census numbers released

JOPLIN, Mo. — 165,986: that’s the number of residents the State of Missouri added since the 2010 Census. And that means some things will change and some will stay the same as they re-map the political landscape.

“How do you bring businesses here to grow those census numbers, and how do you keep our kids there?” said MO Gov. Mike Parson, R.

Just a couple of the priorities Missouri Governor Mike Parson says he focused on when he first took office three years ago.

“We’re fourth the United States for new business on manufacturing jobs, we’re second in the United States for apprenticeship programs, you know. And the one that I really liked a lot is we’re seventh the United States precisely because people are wanting to come to the United States, come to our state of Missouri, and build businesses here, because all the things we’re doing to set that up,” said Governor Parson.

The 2020 Census shows growth of nearly three percent statewide. Areas like St. Louis lost residents while parts of southwest Missouri grew.

“We’ve seen some growth here, both in Jasper and Newton counties and kind of generally in the southwest Missouri area. So, so that’s good news for us from the legislative perspective,” said MO Rep. Cody Smith, R.

Boundaries for legislative districts will be redrawn in 2022, and the shift in population could mean a shift in legislative priority.

“We haven’t lost population where we’ve seen that in some other areas of the state, which means that their legislative districts would need to grow in order to encompass the same amount of constituents,” said Rep. Smith.

Governor Mike Parson sees it as an exciting time for change in the state.

“Really to be able to grow Missouri is a unique opportunity. We’re taking full advantage of it here right now. So It’s great to be in Missouri,” said Governor Parson.

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Local groups donate to Children's Center in memory of children's passing

JOPLIN, Mo. — Two groups are giving back to an organization that helps abused and neglected children.

The Street Royalty Truck Club and 4 State Ministry Riders are accepting donations for the Children’s Center in Joplin.

The groups are holding a supply drive in honor of Christian heady and Simon Lindsey — two kids in our community who both recently passed away.

“I’m a parent, and most of my members are parents, so stuff when it comes to kids really hits us hard. In memory of them, we wanted to do something that benefitted children,” said Evelyn Goodan, Royalty Truck Club Director of Events and Marketing.

Clothes, non perishable snacks, school supplies, toys and hygiene products will all be accepted.

Donations can be dropped off at Countryside Self Storage Monday through Saturday from now until October 21st.

To see the full list of items the Children’s Center needs, click here.

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Northwest Arkansas group donates bikes to University of Arkansas students

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkans. — In tonight’s dose of good news…

A northwest Arkansas organization made a special donation to a University of Arkansas group.

The organization ‘Pedal It Forward’ donated 20 bikes during the U-of-A ‘Bike Block Party’ last week — to help international students who may need transportation.

Kenny Williams of ‘Pedal It Forward’ says the donation is a great way to help students on campus.

“A bike provides a way for them to get around, explore Fayetteville, get outside and be with friends, and also have a recreational opportunity built in,” said Kenny Williams, ‘Pedal It Forward.’

“The bike will kinda help me to easily go to anywhere I want to go to, unless it’s too far,” said Victor Onwukwe, UA Student from Nigeria.

‘Pedal It Forward’ is a Benton County based non-profit group that helps give bicycles to people that may not be able to afford one.