Joplin businesses help raise funds for a local Humane Society

JOPLIN, Mo. – Local businesses are banding together to help raise funds for the Joplin Humane Society.

Local artist Eric Haun created customized ornaments and each one costs $10.

The ‘Heart Joplin’ ornaments are available for purchase at local shops like:

  • Academy Animal Hospital
  • Blue Moon Boutique Joplin
  • Joplin Humane Society
  • The Wild Flower

“So each wooden heart ornament is a donation of 10 dollars, and all of those proceeds go directly to the shelter, that money will be used to take care of the nearly 10 thousand homeless animals that come through our doors each year.”

Click here to learn more.

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Spire customers to see slight rate increase on natural gas

SOUTHEAST MISSOURI –  Spire customers will see a rate increase in natural gas costs.

According to the Missouri Public Service Commission, the price increase reflects the estimated changes in the wholesale cost of natural gas and a change in the company’s Actual Cost Adjustment (ACA) factor.

“Spire East residential customers currently pay approximately $0.60 per Ccf (per hundred cubic feet) of natural gas. Under this filing, the rate will increase to approximately $0.71 per Ccf.

Spire West residential customers currently pay approximately $0.79 per Ccf of natural gas. Under this filing, the rate will increase to approximately $0.92 per Ccf.” – Missouri Public Service Commission

The rate change starts on November 29, 2022.

The Commission says the cost of natural gas from wholesale suppliers generally makes up about 50% to 55% of a customer’s total monthly natural gas bill.

“The wholesale cost of natural gas (the cost your local natural gas company must pay to its suppliers for natural gas) is not regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission. The wellhead cost of natural gas is unregulated and is primarily driven by supply, demand and the weather.”

The Missouri Public Service Commission says it does conduct an annual regulatory review to ensure that regulated natural gas companies make prudent decisions in securing natural gas supplies for their customers.

Additional Information About ACA

The ACA factor is a mechanism that tracks any over-collection or under-collection of actual natural gas costs over a 12-month period. The net over- or under-collected balances are subsequently either refunded or collected the next year. That’s according to the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Managing Your Utility Bill

The Commission gives the following tips for residents to help manage their utility bills.

  • Add attic insulation if necessary.
  • Place weather stripping around doors, use plastic film covering and caulk windows to keep heat from escaping from your home.
  • Change or replace furnace filters each month when dirty.
  • Have your chimney checked for blockage.
  • Close fireplace dampers when the fireplace is not being used.
  • Have your heating system checked and tuned-up if needed.
  • Place an approved insulated cover-jacket around the hot water heater.
  • Consider getting professional help for any projects that are beyond your capabilities.
  • Contact your local utility company to ask about energy saving tips and programs.

Customers Impacted

Spire East provides natural gas service to about 662,800 customers in the City of St. Louis as well as the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Butler, Iron, Franklin, Jefferson,
Madison, Crawford, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve.

Spire West provides natural gas service to approximately 532,900 customers in Andrew, Barry, Barton, Bates, Buchanan, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Dade, DeKalb, Greene, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, McDonald, Moniteau, Pettis, Platte, Ray, Saline, Stone and Vernon counties.


Spire expands DollarHelp funding, customer eligibility

Southwest Missouri (KOAM) – More Spire customers are now eligible to get help with natural gas bills. The company is making those and other changes to help residents struggling with inflation and rising costs.

The company is expanding eligibility requirements for its DollarHelp Program. It’s also increasing the maximum total annual DollarHelp pledge amount from $700 to $1,000.

The program opens today, Nov. 21, 2022.

What’s the DollarHelp Program?

Now managed through the United Way, DollarHelp allows Spire customers to donate $1, monthly, to help other customers in need of assistance with their natural gas bills.

Spire created the DollarHelp program in 1982, as part of the company’s commitment to providing resources for customers with limited incomes in the communities it serves. Spire, in collaboration with its customers, provides funding to the program on an annual basis.

Spire is also providing an additional $100,000 to support the program this year.

The DollarHelp program aims to help customers who may not qualify for assistance through federal and state programs.

Eligibility Changes for DollarHelp Program

Starting November 21, Spire is offering energy assistance to customers whose household incomes are up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

For their customers in Missouri and Alabama, Spire will expand the eligibility for DollarHelp to include individuals and families with household incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL), up from 150% in AL and 200% in MO.

“Prices for nearly everything have increased – from groceries to transportation,” said Christopher Gagliano, vice president of customer experience for Spire. “This additional funding and these important changes to DollarHelp support the needs of our customers who may not qualify for assistance through federal and state programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP, but who still need our support. We understand that our customers are facing challenges, and we’re here to help.”

In the fiscal year 2022, Spire says it helped connect customers with more than $27 million in federal, state and Spire energy assistance funding.

More Information, How to Apply

You can find more information, how to donate and how to apply here. Spire says you can also contact one of its customer service specialists.

In western Missouri, we serve all areas and communities served in Andrew, Barry, Barton, Buchanan, Carroll, Cass. Cedar, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Cooper, Dade, DeKalb, Greene, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, McDonald, Moniteau, Newton, Pettis, Platte Ray, Saline, Stone, and Vernon Counties.


Mental health center awarded $10,000 in Riverton, Kan.

TOPEKA, Kan. – A Riverton organization has been awarded a grant from the Tower Foundation to support mental health services, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.

Spring River Mental Health and Wellness Center was awarded $10,000 to assist with the transition to and/or implementation of requirements for the new designation of being a certified community behavioral health clinic (CCBHC).

The CCBHC model is being implemented in Kansas and will provide more resources to participating clinics and improve the care the clinics are able to provide to Kansas citizens.

The Tower Mental Health Foundation of Kansas was created as a result of an agreement between the attorney general’s office and the Menninger Foundation in 2007.

It offers support to organizations that provide mental health services in Kansas

Click here to learn more.


Local rotary club hosts annual Phonathon for the Lord’s Diner

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg Noon Rotary club members today called on the community to help raise funds for The Lord’s Diner of Pittsburg.

This annual event asks residents to pledge or donate to the diner which provides nutritious meals to anyone in need.

All donations benefit the Diner, which now operates out of a food truck to better serve the community.

“The spirit of the cross section of people that come together to work on the Phonathon under Rotary’s leadership is consistent with the history of Pittsburg – a place where people have always come together from all walks of life, different religions and different professions to take care of others,” Rotarian Joe Dellasega said. “The response and collaboration with the Phonathon is inspiring…a true testament to the people that have chosen to call Pittsburg ‘home’.”

The Lord’s Diner serves healthy meals 365 days a year with roughly 300 meals served daily.

Officials with the non-profit say donations make this possible.

Click here to learn more, or donate here.



Fairview, Mo. Audit: Improper use of City funds, conflicts of interest

FAIRVIEW, Mo. – The Missouri Auditor gives the City of Fairview a “Poor” rating for its overall performance.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway started the audit in 2021 at the request of the City’s residents. They requested the audit through the petition process.

“My audits examine how public resources are used, detail any concerns about how government operates and make recommendations on how taxpayers can be better served,” Auditor Galloway said.

Under Missouri law, the State Auditor’s office may be called on to audit a political subdivision of the state if enough qualified voters of that entity request the audit. The petition audit from Fairview residents required 67 signatures.

In her audit of the City of Fairland, Galloway found overpayments, improper use of City funds and conflicts of interest.

“The former City Clerk was overpaid $3,351, and the Board improperly spent $120,252 of restricted funds from a city trust fund. The city paid $17,325 to a business that a former Mayor managed and owned in violation of city code related to conflicts of interest, and some of the checks issued to the former Mayor’s business were dated prior to the date of the related invoice,” states the audit.

Other issues found include:

  • Lack of payroll controls and procedures
  • Not always soliciting bids or proposals as required by city code
  • Not always entering into written contracts
  • Making adjustments to customer accounts, including writing off charges caused by water leaks or incorrect meter readings, without obtaining independent approval or maintaining adequate documentation to support the reason for the adjustment
  • Not adequately monitoring budget-to-actual receipts and disbursements
  • The Board didn’t comply with the Sunshine Law for 7 out of 8 closed meetings in 2020
  • Lack of maintaining records for capital assets

You can read the full audit report, including other issues found, below. Or, click here.

If you would like to provide information for consideration in any audit, you can contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at moaudit@auditor.mo.gov or by calling 800-347-8597. You can also submit concerns anonymously online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.

Fairview, Mo. Audit – Improper use of City funds, conflicts of interest


Joplin Fire Department awarded grant funding

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri American Water is proud to offer grant funding to the Joplin Fire Department as well as other stations across the state.

MAW named JFD one of 44 recipients to receive grant funding.

“We understand that funding for our local heroes can sometimes run short, and this year we’re proud to provide a record number of grants to support the life-saving work of our first responders,” said Rich Svindland, president of Missouri American Water. “Nothing is more important to us than safety, and we’re pleased to provide training and equipment that will enhance the safety of our first responders and the communities we serve.”

In total, MAW is giving away $53,000 to Missouri fire departments and emergency response organizations located in Missouri American Water’s service areas.

Officials say they have awarded nearly 200 grants since the program began in 2016.


Oklahoma awarded nearly 7 Million from Google in largest multistate lawsuit to date

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma, along with 39 other states, reached a $391.5 million multistate settlement with Google over its location tracking practices.

Officials say the investigation began after a 2018 AP article stated “Google records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.”

“Google denied consumers the ability to choose whether it could track their sensitive location data to make a profit. This type of data is extremely personal for consumers,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “I am glad Oklahoma will benefit from this historic settlement which proves that no entity, not even big tech companies, is above the law.”

As detailed in the largest multistate AG settlement, the attorneys general found that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location-tracking practices since at least 2014.

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent with consumers about its practices. Google must:

  • Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off;”
  • Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
  • Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.

Oklahoma will receive $6,840,893.67 from the settlement as a result of the lawsuit.


Local libraries receive technology grants

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Jay Ashcroft, the secretary of state, recently reported that his office gave 27 technology mini-grants worth a combined $325,370 to multiple Missouri libraries on Monday, October 31.

Public libraries can use the awards to help pay for technology and automation-related equipment, as well as other hardware and software to upgrade network infrastructure. New equipment might be bought with the help of funds to enhance library services.

“Missouri’s libraries serve as vital resource hubs for their communities,” Ashcroft said. “These grants provide libraries with the technology they need to expand services to better meet the needs of their patrons.”

Grants are distributed through an application process and given based on both the library’s ability to manage the funds effectively and the project’s justifiable needs.

“Technology mini-grants give Missouri’s libraries the opportunity to upgrade existing technology or use technology to try new, innovative projects,” said State Librarian Robin Westphal. “Grants like this have been a mainstay of the Missouri State Library for years, and we are excited to announce this year’s recipients of these competitive grants.”

Through the Missouri State Library, Ashcroft’s office has given out 163 grants totaling $2,036,269.88 since January 1, 2022. The complete list of grant recipients for this year are:

1. Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Replacement of Public and Staff Printers 2022-2023 $10,635.00
2. Barton County Library 2022 Barton County Library Equipment Upgrade and Replacement Project $4,272.00
9. Joplin Public Library Supporting Early Literacy Technology Education $5,890.00
17. Nevada Public Library Essential Server and Hardware Refresh 2022 $8,554.00

Click here for more information


Missouri American Water: how to avoid frozen pipes this winter

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – As consistent below-freezing weather is predicted, Missouri American Water advises locals and property owners to take precautions to avoid frozen water pipes. Following these easy guidelines can protect plumbing, saving money on repairs and lower water costs.

“Taking preventive steps at the onset of colder temperatures can help to protect our customers from both repair costs and higher water bills this winter,” said Rich Svindland, president of Missouri American Water. “They can also help prevent temporary interruptions in water service.”

Make sure you are prepared by:

  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve.
  • Turn off and drain your irrigation system.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water.
  • Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with insulation, fabric, or newspaper.

When temperatures stay below freezing you should:

  • Leave doors open on cabinets and vanities to expose pipes to warmer air.
  • Keep water moving through pipes by allowing a small stream of water.
  • If it snows, allow the snow to cover your water meter and the snow will act as insulation.

If your pipes freeze you should:

  • Shut off the water immediately.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air, not direct heat. Avoid leaving space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Turn the water back on slowly once the pipes have thawed, and check for cracks and leaks.

Click here for more information