Neosho to expand inclusivity to children in park by early spring

NEOSHO, Mo. — One Neosho park will soon be more inclusive for kids.

The city received a 5,000 dollar grant from the Arvest Foundation. the money will go towards a new ADA inclusive swing set, a sidewalk and mulch in big spring park.

Something Parks Director Clint Dalbom says is important for kids.

“We want this park to be used by all walks, you know anybody to have access to this. And young people need places to play. And an outdoor setting like this, a pretty setting like this, it’s very important,” said Clint Dalbom, Neosho Parks Director

The swing set is expected to be fully operational come early spring.


Joplin food shortage effecting operations of schools throughout the area

JOPLIN, Mo. — A food shortage for schools is causing Joplin to change how it operates.

This shortage is causing the schools to put out orders for food up to a month in advance. And even though they order well in advance, many items are still on backorder

Joplin Schools are currently finding it hard to come by chicken, pizza, individually wrapped breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and even Styrofoam plates and cups.

Because of this, they’ve had to improvise.

“If we don’t have a chicken biscuit, we sub out something else. So, we’re always offering food to the students, it just may not be the largest variety we’re accustomed to,” said Rick Kenkel – Joplin Schools Director For Child Nutrition.

Because of this, they’ve also been spending more money to feed students.

“We do a contract bid every year, and they’ve all come back and said due to national shortages, they can’t get it, they’re raising their prices a little bit,” said Kenkel.

With higher prices and less options, the district is forced to buy in bulk up to a month in advance.

While it’s efficient, it also causes more work.

“We want them individually wrapped, so that the students so the students don’t touch other food, or ready to eat foods, so we will then be effected in that fashion that we have an increased labor,” said Kenkel.

Kenkel adds if it wasn’t for their warehouse, they wouldn’t be able to do any of this.

“The Joplin School District is very fortunate to have a warehouse. If we were a school who did not have a warehouse, we couldn’t definitely, couldn’t store quantities of that far in advance,” said Kenkel.

Although certain food options aren’t available, East Middle Principal, Jason Cravens says they don’t notice the shortage thanks to the work of their staff.

“We have not seen any side affects to food shortages at the school, and again our kids are fed well, lunches flow well and things are going well in that area,” said Jason Cravens, East Middle School Principal.

Joplin Schools have six different food distributors to help them out as well.

Kenkel adds that helps them out greatly during the shortage because of one distributor doesn’t have an item, they have other options to choose from.


Joplin agriculture workers make more than national average

JOPLIN, Mo. — There’s good news for Joplin area residents who make their living in agriculture.

According to a report from “commodity-dot-com” — people in the Joplin metro who work in farming, fishing and forestry, make a cost-of-living-adjusted wage of over 37 thousand dollars a year.

Not bad, considering the national average is nearly 30 thousand.

Not bad for business either.

“From a cost of doing business standpoint our cost of doing business is unparalleled with I-44 and 49 and US 69 across the region, workers can get to and from work pretty easily, commodities coming in and out of the region uh pretty easily uh we’re pretty heavy into food and beverage manufacturing,” said Tony Robyn, Director, MOKAN Partnership.

More good news to come out of the report.

Joplin is the 53rd best paying small metro area in the county for agricultural workers.

It’s also the 78th highest compensated area overall. As a state, Missouri ranks 21st for Ag employee compensation.


MSSU's "Major-Minor" event helps students choose what they want to study

JOPLIN, Mo. — Some students choose their majors prior to the start of college, but, of course, that isn’t always the case for every student.

At Missouri Southern, that’s where the university’s ACTS department comes in. It stands for Advising, Counseling and Testing Services.

Every year, it puts on this event — a Major-Minor Fair.

A way to help educate students when it comes to the different options from which they have to choose.

“It’s for all those undecided majors, usually freshmen and sophomores to kind of meet all the different departments that are out there and uh we’re hoping they find their academic home and then have a major and find an advisor,” said Dr. William Mountz, MSSU Advising, Counseling & Testing Services.

This event started in 2011. Last year’s version was done virtually, due to the pandemic.


Jones clutch hit lifts Carthage over McDonald County in home opener

WATCH: Jordyn Jones gets the go-ahead hit for Carthage Wednesday night – giving the Tigers a 2-1 win over McDonald County in the team’s home opener.

Carthage snaps the Mustangs’ 7-game winning streak.

“She had the big RBI in the 2nd inning that gave us the 1-0 lead, and there at the end she had a great at-bat,” says head coach Stephanie Ray of Jones, “She was fouling balls off and fouling balls off. With an 0-2 pitch she put one over the left fielder’s head. I just knew if we could get that runner to third, we had a chance. We put the bat in the senior’s hand there and she just took it and she owned it there.”


Run game an early-season bright spot for MSSU football

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern Lions are back on the road this weekend aiming for their first win of the season against Central Oklahoma.

MSSU is 0-2 to begin their fall schedule, falling to Nebraska-Kearney (38-0) and Northeastern State (21-17) in their first two games.

While the Lions haven’t gotten the results they wanted on the scoreboard early in the season, the team’s rushing attack has been a bright spot. Missouri Southern has rushed for 302 yards in their first two games.

Freshman running back Nathan Glades has led the team’s rushing attack, accounting for 169 yards in his first two career starts.

“We’ve faced two MIAA opponents, and we have ran the ball really well,” says head coach Atiba Bradley, “Where we’ve got to get better is the consistency of running the ball and being able to run the ball at a high level for four straight quarters. Part of that will be getting the passing game going a little bit more and opening up lanes for running. We’ve played two MIAA opponents and gone toe-to-toe with them. We’ve thrown blows with them and we’ve had success against them. Now it’s just raising our play and the level of consistency. That’s what we have to do now.”

This Missouri Southern team is relying an a number of younger players, including Glades, this season.

13 of the Lions’ 22 starters are either freshman or sophomore players – so the growing pains are not unexpected.

“It’s not easy…but growing up isn’t easy,” Bradley says, “Maturation isn’t easy. The hardest part about it is that you can’t rush it. You can’t sit there and say boom you’re a 5th-year senior. You have three years of experience under your belt in two games. You can’t do that. The hardest part is sitting there and knowing you’re going to take your lumps. It’s like watching a baby walk for the first time. You can’t sit there and hold its hand. They know they have to get better. They know it’s going to be tough. They know they have to come in and out every day and put in the work to get better.”


Joplin cardiologist sees COVID survivors recover from long-term cardiovascular health issues

JOPLIN, Mo. – A year ago, 44-year-old Joplin native and resident Jennifer Parks lived a fairly normal life.

“I literally worked 48 to 56 hours a week, I took care of two kid,” explains Parks.

But since getting COVID-19 in November of last year, it’s been a much different story.

“I have to be dependent on other people,” says Parks.

She spent 33 days on a ventilator, two months in the hospital after getting off the vent, and then some time at a nursing home in Seneca.

“I had to move in with my mom because I had a stroke.. a COVID induced stroke in the hospital,” says Parks.

Now things have been so much different. She can walk some using a walker, but is wheelchair bound most of the time. She also has a number of physical long-term side effects from COVID, including cardiovascular issues like blood clots in her legs and feet.

“I went from taking zero pills, to taking seven pills every morning,” says Parks. “Like last night, my leg was on fire. And legs and my feet were on fire. There wasn’t anything I could do about it.”

Freeman Cardiologist Dr. Robert Stauffer explains cardiovascular issues are becoming a more common thing for people with “Long COVID Syndrome.”

“This effects all patients. Whether they’re 13-year-olds, or they’re 70-year-olds or their 40-year-olds,” says Dr. Stauffer. “They present with a lot of symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain, what they call brain fog. They’re just not 100 percent.”

But another thing that he’s noticing — a lot of them are being able to make a full recovery.

“I saw a cross country runner, for example, who could run ten miles without even thinking twice. He couldn’t walk across campus after COVID for about three months. And then after that, I saw him back another time, he got completely better. So, I think there’s a lot of hope out there if you’re one of those people who have this sort of long COVID syndrome,” says Dr. Stauffer. “Some of these patients, they got really sick, bounced back very quick. Some patients with mild to moderate disease, they don’t bounce back as quick. And the one thing I just tell patients is, be patient.”

That is good news for many who are still living with symptoms that impact their way of life. Unfortunately for Parks, since COVID hit her so incredibly hard, it’s looking more and more like that won’t be the case.

“It’s take this pill, and take this pill until it stops working, and then we’ll find something else. Mentally, it’s a rough thing. Like I said, I’m 45 and I have to be dependent on people,” says Parks. “You thank God every day that you’re alive. I don’t put off things because you never know when it’s gonna be your last day.”

“There is a small subset of patients who had COVID pneumonia or myocarditis, things like that, that will have long-term effects from this virus and will have to deal with that in the years to come. So those are the patients we have to be really careful about,” says Dr. Stauffer. “That’s the reason to get vaccinated though. If you look at patients who got vaccinated, they tend not to get Long COVID Syndrome. So, one more reason to get vaccinated cause this is not something that you can say, ‘I’m gonna tough it out for two or three days and be better.’ You don’t want to deal with the situation where it’s months later and you can’t do anything.”


U.S. Awards in Pittsburg to expand facility, holds groundbreaking

PITTSBURG, Kan. — U.S. Awards in Pittsburg, which manufactures trophies, banners, and plaques, is expanding.

A groundbreaking Wednesday, September 15, marked the beginning of construction.

The company says it is outgrowing its current facility.


Joplin prepares for it’s city surplus auction

JOPLIN, Mo. — The City of Joplin will hold its annual Auction on Saturday, September 18, 2021, beginning at 9 a.m. The Auction will be held in the Street Maintenance Barn located northwest of the Public Works Center, 1301 West 2nd Street. Parking will be available at the Center’s parking lot.

The merchandise will be available to the public for viewing from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, September 17, and from 8 to 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 18, prior to the start of the auction.

Numerous items will be sold during the Auction, including vehicles, equipment, office furniture, computers, tools, bicycles, and various miscellaneous items.

The list of auction items is available on the City of Joplin’s website. This list is pending approval by the City Council at their September 7, 2021 meeting. If changes are made to the list during Council’s review, a new list will be posted on September 8, 2021.

Please contact Lynden Lawson, Assistant Director of Public Works for Operations, at 417-624-0820, ext. 1560, or Bob Johnson, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, at 417-624-0820, ext. 1562 for more information.