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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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EPA begins cleanup project in Pittsburg

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The EPA is working to take care of lead contamination in a Pittsburg field. The field is on E. Fourth St., across from the Mission Clay Products Property.

A church owns the property and is working with the EPA and the city on the project.

It’s expected to take about two weeks.

Crews will excavate the area, backfill and then sod.

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First Responders save two people in Shell Knob, MO fire

SHELL KNOB, Mo. — The Central Crossing Fire Protection District in Shell Knob says first responders rescued two people from a fire.

Crews were called out to the home in the Stallion Bluff area for a fire.

When they arrived they were informed that two people were trapped inside.

A responding fire fighter, sheriff’s deputy and a neighbor took action and were able to rescue both people.

One of the resident’s refused medical treatment, the other was flown to the hospital.

In a news release the fire protection district said “our thanks to these men for their heroic and brave actions this evening that likely saved two lives.”

Authorities say they believe the fire was intentionally set.

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New exhibit at Pittsburg State focuses on mental illness

PITTSBURG, Kan. – There’s a new exhibit at Porter Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University. It’s focused on mental illness. We spoke with the artist behind the exhibit and has more.

Jared Jennings is not just a former Pitt State student, he’s an artist and he’s an art teacher at Porter Hall. He created the works now on display, which he calls “Nature versus Nurture”. Jennings says “It started out from my own experiences, wanting to talk about like, really understand what I was going through, and then it moved to kinda wanting to give other people a voice and tell their stories also.”

Jennings is hoping that as people view the exhibit, it will open their eyes to those fighting mental illness and encourage those struggling to reach out. “I hope we can start that conversation, I hope people can go out and actually talk to someone about something they haven’t really been able to talk about.”

Morgan Rexwinkle is a Music Education Major at Pitt State. She also struggles with mental illness and has her own creative outlet. “When I am sad, struggling with mental illness, I let everything go into music, because that’s my life, it’s been my life forever and it just helps to absorb everything that’s going on.”

She says it’s great to see how others express their internal battles. “I definitely think it’s interesting to see everybody else’s interpretation of mental illness and what it means to other people because it can be totally something different to you than what it is to me.”

Jennings says there’s one key takeaway from the exhibit. “Before you’re a man or a woman, before you’re white or black, Christian or Jewish or something like that, you’re a human being, that comes first before anything and mental illness is something that plagues people everyday, but it doesn’t control them and it doesn’t make them any less of a person.”

The exhibit will run through October 25th.

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Freeman location briefly shutdown due to staffing issues

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Freeman Health System’s Webb City urgent care location was forced to shut down Tuesday, September 14, because it was understaffed.

Freeman CEO Paula Baker says it was an issue with scheduled employees not being able to work, not a health system-wide staffing shortage.

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Marionville homicide victim identified, police now seeking a suspect

MARIONVILLE, Mo. – Police have identified a homicide victim in Marionville and are now asking for the public’s help to find the suspect.

The Aurora and Marionville Police Department has identified the victim located at 406 S. Central in Marionville as 50-year-old Jess Davis. The department is seeking charges of Murder and Armed Criminal Action for the murder of Davis. The suspect has been identified as Jamie Lee Godfrey, a white male known to frequent the Aurora and Marionville area.

Officials ask anyone with information on Godfrey’s whereabouts to contact the Aurora and Marionville Police Department. Godfrey is considered dangerous and should not be approached.

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KOAM News to Know (9/15/21)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A major U.S. pharmacy says customers who registered for covid-19 tests may have had their data exposed. Reports say Walgreens exposed the information of its customers on its website through its test registration system. Experts say a link to the confirmed test reservation gives access to private information with no log in required. This includes access to birthdays, phone numbers, addresses, and emails.

JOPLIN, Mo. – The U.S. Census Bureau announces new income and poverty data for the U.S. and it shows the poverty level increased one percent nationally. Here in the 4-states, officials with economic security say they’ve seen a 26 percent increase in clients since 2019, partly due to the pandemic. Crosslines ministries says it has seen peaks and valleys, but is beginning to see a steady increase in those seeking assistance. Census Bureau releases new income and poverty data

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri Southern receives a grant to learn more about food insecurity among students. The Fahs-Beck Foundation Grant gives the university $25,000 to fund research into food insecurity in Missouri college students. It’ll also look at students’ access to and knowledge of the SNAP program.

ORONOGO, Mo. – There is a lawn invasion underway in the 4-states. Army worms are spreading across the area, rapidly eating large amounts of grass. Army worms are actually caterpillars that reproduce in large quantities and spread over a field like an army. They feed primarily on Bermuda-grass, Rye-grass, Fescue, Blue-grass and some crops. Experts say army worms can destroy areas as large as a football field in two to three days. There are some insecticides you can use to protect your lawn. Armyworms: Scouting and control tips

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: Apple unveiled its new iPhone 13 yesterday. The 5G phone features a faster processor and longer battery life. It also has an updated camera that records video in cinematic mode. Do you plan to get your hands on the new iPhone 13 when it becomes available September 24th? Join our KOAM InstaPoll @ koamnewsnow.com/vote.