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Missouri veterans fund receives $6.8M from medical marijuana

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In less than a year, medical marijuana has generated more than $113 million in sales in Missouri. And military veterans across the state are benefitting.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the sale and use of medical marijuana in Nov. 2018. A provision in the amendment allows fees and taxes generated by all sales to be transferred to the Missouri Veterans Commission for health care and other services benefiting veterans.

Medical marijuana sold in Missouri is taxed at 4%.

On Thursday, the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) turned more than $6.84 million over to the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC).

The MVC received its first transfer of funds from the medical marijuana program in Sept. 2020, totaling $2.13 million.

There are more than 140 dispensary facilities in Missouri.

You can monitor the progress of licensed medical marijuana distributors across Missouri by visiting the state’s regulatory data and reports page.

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WATCH: Funeral Procession of Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz

Many miles of roadway are closed today as a fallen Wentzville Marine will receive a hero`s escort to his final resting place. This afternoon, the body of Lance Corporal Schmitz, 20, will be taken from a St. Charles funeral home to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Another massive crowd is expected to line roadways to honor Schmitz and his service to our country.

The Patriot Guard will lead the procession for Schmitz. The Missouri Highway Patrol is going to close 31 miles of roadway for the escort.

The procession will leave St. Charles at around 2:00 pm and arrive at Jefferson Barracks around an hour later. The procession will travel East on I-70, then go south on I-270 to I-255 eastbound, and exit at Telegraph Road. The procession will then head north on Telegraph Road to Sheridan Road and end at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

A highway patrol spokesperson says the entire route of highways and streets will be shut down when the procession starts. The closures should last about an hour.

Thousands of people lined the route last week when Schmitz`s body was driven here in a Humvee after arriving at Lambert. The crowds could be even larger today.

Schmitz, a 2019 graduate of Fort Zumwalt South High School was among 13 American military members killed last month when a suicide bomber attacked the Kabul, Afghanistan airport.

State Senator Bob Onder, who represents Schmitz`s district, spoke about the fallen Marine at the state capital.

“He will be missed he will be missed by the people of Wentzville, by his family his friends and he will be missed by our country he was truly one of the best of the best,” said Rep. Onder.

Governor Parson ordered flags to fly at half staff today in honor of Schmitz. A private service for Schmitz will be held here then another private service will take place at Jefferson Barracks.

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MISSING: Grace Fenner – Decatur

DECARTUR, Ark. — Police in Arkansas are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing woman.

Grace Fenner was last seen by her residence on September 15th in Decatur.

Fenner is described as a white female with dark hair. According to family, Fenner has a form of high-functioning autism and does not drive and is very dependent on family.

If you see Fenner you are urged to contact local authorities to help get her home.

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Missouri records 1,987 new COVID cases; fifth straight day below 2,000

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State health officials have recorded less than 2,000 new COVID for each of the last five days.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 657,388 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 1,987 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 11,028 total deaths as of Thursday, Sept. 16, an increase of 7 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.68%.

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

State health officials report 52.9% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 64.1% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The state has administered 72,690 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.

Boone County, the city of Joplin, and St. Louis County are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its population fully vaccinated. Thirteen other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: St. Charles, Franklin, Atchison, Jackson, Cole, Gasconade, Greene, Shelby, Nodaway, and Montgomery counties, as well as Kansas City, Independence, and St. Louis City.

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.

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 1,800; yesterday, it was 1,745. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 2,122. 

Approximately 49.2% 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 81,742 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 56,320 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 44.2% of all recorded deaths in the state.

TOP STORY: Funeral procession for fallen Marine Jared Schmitz 

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 26,361
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 6,828,380 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Sept. 15, 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 a 10.8% positivity rate as of Sept. 13. 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. 13, Missouri is reporting 1,922 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 1,996. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 21% 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, 507 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 18%.

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. 16, the CDC identified 41,593,179 cases of COVID-19 and 666,440 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.60%.

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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Noel marshal's office moved to newer location

NOEL, Mo. — It’s out with the old, and in with the new in Noel.

The City of Noel’s marshal’s office has officially changed location.

Marshal Randy Wilson says the old office was out of date — and the cost to fix it wasn’t worth the price.

The office has moved from Gratz Street to a temporary location in the “Noel United Methodist Church Parsonage” off of north Kings Highway.

“With this building, we’re very happy. We’ve had a lot of citizens come in and they are very excited about it, they’re glad we have this building, and even though it’s temporary we have an option to be able to re-lease it,” said Randy Wilson – City Of Noel Marshal.

Marshal Wilson adds it is currently unknown what or when their next move will be.

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Carthage Water and Electric Plant working to bring high speed internet to the area

CARTHAGE, Mo. — High-speed internet is a growing option for Carthage customers.

The “Carthage Water and Electric Plant” is working on a multi-year project to offer broadband connections throughout its service area.

The project is already offering high speed internet to 21 hundred homes, a number that will grow to more than 8,000 by the time the expansion is done.

“Our goal is to make sure that Carthage is the most connected, high speed internet community in southwest Missouri. We feel like we’re well on our way to that – we know that internet service is a critical component to economic development, to the quality of life we live today,” said Chuck Bryant, CWEP General Manager.

The new fiber optic service cost $50 a month and is expected to be available throughout the Carthage Water and Electric Service area in 2024.

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Carthage student named National Merit Semifinalist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A Carthage student now ranks among the top achieving students in the nation.

CHS Senior Lee Goetzinger has been named a National Merit Semifinalist.

That puts him in the running to become a National Merit Scholar, opening up eligibility for millions of dollars in scholarships.

Goetzinger scored a 35 on his act and has a grade point average of 4.16.

“Linguistics is kind of my passion but math is just my favorite class — which I love math too. I’m leaning toward linguistics but I’m a little bit worried about job prospects for that. I also like anthropology,” said Lee Goetzinger, Natl Merit Semifinalist.

Goetzinger is still weighing his options for college, saying he’s applied to several schools in Missouri — as well as a few out-of-state.

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McDonald County schools hire new health aides

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Nurses in one southwest Missouri school district will soon be getting some extra help.

The district will be hiring eight new health aid positions.

This comes after district officials noticed some additional needs that have surfaced, since the start of the pandemic.

School nurses in McDonald County have been working extra hard during the pandemic to make sure students are safe.

School secretaries have even filled in as aid for the nurses to help out — adding on to an already busy workload.

“When this pandemic hit, we found that they were really becoming overworked and had a lot more things going on than really they needed to have,” said Ken Schutten – McDonald County School Media Communication Coordinator.

Now, thanks to COVID relief money coming into the district, administrators will be able to hire eight new health aid positions. Something that not only will take stress off of nurses, but help better assist many kids throughout the district.

“Just here at Anderson elementary, we see over 500 children, we staff over 70 staff members, and, as you wouldn’t want to walk into your doctors office and not see a physician or a friendly nurses face, it’s the same with our littles,” said Angela Riley – Anderson Elementary RN.

Now that students will be even better assisted when going to the nurses offices, Schutten adds it will improve their learning.

“Research has shown over and over again that a healthy student is a better student. And that’s what our goal is, we want success all across the board when it comes to McDonald County schools, and each and every student needs to have that success,” said Schutten

And it will even allow the registered nurses to have success.

“Not only can I go out into the building and take care of those special needs kids, and do their readings in the morning and in the afternoon, I can walk out and do my hearing and vision screenings,” said Riley.

Riley adds when she leaves her health aid in her office, she knows the kids are well taken care of, and she’s excited to see that in the other schools

Officials in the district hope to have these positions filled by next month.

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McKinley Elementary presented with check from Subaru of America

JOPLIN, Mo. — In tonight’s dose of good news…

Thanks to a long-time friendship, one Joplin elementary school was granted with a check to help further its students learning.

McKinley Elementary School received a check of 5,000 dollars from Subaru of America.

On top of that, Fletcher Auto Group donated a check of 561 dollars.

The money was raised from a 24 hour walk that started at Subaru and ended in Fairland, Oklahoma, and will be divided among all teachers to help better the learning of their students.

“This money allows us to go above and beyond for our students. Whether it be during the school day, maybe an after school club or activity, tutoring through reading or math, it’s great, it’s fantastic,” said Jason Riddle – McKinley Elementary Principal

“It was a hard challenge. I mean, when you think about walking for 24 hours, you have to be mentally prepared. But, when you know that the cause is bigger than you than there’s no quit, you just go until you can’t go anymore,” said Ann Onyango – Fletcher Auto-Group Sales Consultant.

Ann adds she didn’t want to do the walk at first, but looking back at it, she’s glad she did.