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JFD Chief to retire

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin’s top firefighter is making plans to retire.

Fire Chief Jim Furgerson will end his time with the city next month. He’s spent 25-years in fire service – including time as a volunteer, as well as a full-time employee of the Joplin Fire Department.

Furgerson says the decision to move on is bittersweet.

JFD Chief Jim Furgerson, said, “I work with some of the finest men and women anywhere. I’d put them up against anybody, any fire department in the country. They’re very good at what they do, they’re very compassionate at what they do. They do their jobs very well.”

Furgerson is moving on to the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency – and will serve as the Regional Emergency Management Director in the Southwest region.

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Joplin planning tornado memorial for May 22nd

JOPLIN, Mo. — The city of Joplin has several events planned to commemorate ten years since the May 22, 2011 tornado.

Events on May 22nd will begin at 3 p.m. at Cunningham Park, where the community will be able to gather together and includes Healing Through Art with Ann Leach. The observance ceremony will begin at 5:15.

Mayor Ryan Stanley and former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will be among the speakers.

The 10-year remembrance day will also feature a reading of the names of the 161 lives lost and a moment of silence at 5:41 p.m. And then, join us on KODE and KSN for our one-hour special, reflecting on May 22, 2011, at 6 p.m.

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Joplin school wins scholar bowl state championship

JOPLIN, Mo. — Students at one Joplin school can now call themselves state champions. And one of them hopes to display his skills before a national audience some day.

Win or lose, just going to the final four in any competition, involving the body or mind is a great achievement. And for College Heights, it’s the 12th year in a row to compete at the state level in scholar bowl competition. And a highlight of Rebekah Law’s senior year.

Rebekah Law, College Heights Senior, Team Member, said, “I didn’t get to go to State last year, you know because you know Covid shut it all down, I think we would have gone down but there was no state, so like senior year it was my first time at state because I didn’t go as a Sophomore, so it was like special.”

The High School’s Scholar Bowl team competed for and won the state 4-A competition this past weekend in Columbia.

Team members try to have a minimum of knowledge on most subjects, and an expertise in at least one of them.

Aadyn Crider Mullins, College Heights Junior, Team Member, said, “I enjoy history stuff but I also enjoy like a lot of random knowledge maybe like some film, theater stuff, something like that as well.”

Gabriel Forrest, College Heights Junior, Team Member, said, “I mainly play literature and fine arts and specifically like visual, so a lot of like painting or performance or sculpture, so I buy a lot of books and read a lot of philosophical papers on it, so I just do that, and then I read a lot of the primary works for literature for like short stories and novels, and then everything else kind of get a cursory knowledge of.”

And for the second time in two years, Forrest has been selected to be among a handful of students to represent the show-me state at the upcoming national all-star academic tournament, and he’s only a junior.

“I mainly play literature and fine arts and specifically like visual, so a lot of like painting or performance or sculpture, so I buy a lot of books and read a lot of philosophical papers on it, so I just do that, and then I read a lot of the primary works for literature for like short stories and novels, and then everything else kind of get a cursory knowledge of.”

And he hopes this won’t be his only appearance on KSN.

“Actually a lot of former Quiz Bowlers and current Quiz Bowlers still play for Jeopardy, so like one day.”

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Show Me Mail Art exhibit coming to Joplin Public Library

JOPLIN, Mo. — The U.S. Post Office will play a central role in a bicentennial art display at the Joplin Public Library.

The Post Art Library is hosting an ongoing exhibit called Show Me Mail Art. The artform can be any kind of art that can be sent by mail, typically the size of a letter or post card.

The display is kicking off Missouri’s bicentennial year by using the state’s Show Me theme.

Jill Sullivan, Post Art Library, said, “We’re just asking people Show Me mail art and what’s important about where you’re from – your hometown, city or state or country you’d like to communicate to the rest of the world through mail art.”

While much of the existing art is mail-themed, some past submissions have resembled chocolate cake or a waffle. You can find out more about taking part in the mail art project by visiting the JPL website.

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Carver Elementary to host 2nd annual Bloom Festival

NEOSHO, Mo. — Second graders in Neosho have been gearing up for a big event this week.

Carver Elementary 2nd annual Bloom Festival is this Friday. It’s free and open to the public – and takes place from 10:30 a.m. to two p.m. Visitors will be able to enjoy food trucks and a farmer’s market.

More importantly, they can purchase plants cultivated by the children, as well as the bracelets and stenciled canvas bags they’ve made.

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Salon owner reflects on bouncing back after the Joplin tornado

JOPLIN, Mo. — The 2011 tornado damaged or destroyed 553 businesses.

Most of them rebuilt and one of them re-opened barely a month after the storm. It’s Cut Loose hair salon at 26th and Byers Avenue. The business was a total loss – but it was back up and running in a matter of weeks.

Diana Collins, Cut Loose Owner, said, “I had just received a text message that said that St. John’s had been hit, and they believed my shop was gone.”

Diana Collins remembers driving into town but debris forcing her to park blocks away from her shop Cut Loose.

She knew she was in the right area, but that area was unrecognizable.

“We didn’t know where we were, there were no signs, there were no … nothing. I mean we just kept walking.”

There wasn’t much left to identify her shop.

“It was completely, completely gone, except the foundation.”

Her first priority was to check on neighbors, and help at a nearby nursing home. But rebuilding was a close second.

“We got the first building permit from the city, and all of the girls who had worked here at that time, their families also showed up, and we had that we just started that morning and had it by that evening had the foundation cleared off.”

Construction went quickly, spearheaded by Diana’s husband who is in construction. They built on the original foundation – with some improvements.

“You know, we got to have a pedicure room, where before we didn’t have.”

The new salon hosted a grand opening on July 2nd, less than six weeks after the storm. Diana credits divine guidance for the quick recovery.

“I believe God got us through a lot so you know, that’s what we’ve focused on most of our decoration is – ‘Be still and know that I am God.”

Diana Collins is also quick to point out the importance of insurance. She says it was crucial in rebuilding in 2011 – and is something she recommends to all businesses to stay current with their insurance.

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Joplin City Council eyes ballot items

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin City Council is preparing to put items on the April ballots.

The Joplin City Council held a work session to understand two projects that could revitalize downtown. Joplin entities discussed their roles in the Launchpad and CAPS programs.

Toby Teeter, President of Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “Our biggest issue we have is talent attraction and retention. We are trying to close that loop.”

Tuesday night the Joplin City Council held a work session at Missouri Southern to the programs. The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, the MSSU Board of Directors, and Joplin Board of Education would work together for the projects.

For Launchpad Missouri Southern would relocate their Small Business Development Center downtown to the old library on fourth and main.

“The challenge for years now is turning this 300 block of main back to life. This is a viable opportunity to bring it back to life.”

The caps program would be a collaboration with Missouri Southern.

The library would also be the central location for the CAPS Program — that would allow students in the Joplin, Webb City, and Carl Junction School District an opportunity to earn college credit.

Dr. Melinda Moss, Joplin Public Schools Superintendent, said, “The CAPS program will give us an opportunity to give our students a vision of possiblities right here in joplin and several career strands. Not only get a vision and exposure to project based learning with actual business and industry partners, but also then to have dual credit on their high school transcript.”

On Monday, The Joplin City Council will review the ballot language for the project that will be a bond. If council votes to move forward with these projects they will create a ballot item for April 2022.

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Carl Junction Chamber hosts Second Tuesday

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Local businesses are getting the opportunity to show what they have to offer to one local community.

The Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce kicked off its second annual Second Tuesday event this afternoon. The event features vendors, booths, food trucks, and plenty of local businesses were on hand to showcase their product.

Lindsey Hunt, Co-Owner, Hunt’s Mobile Detailing, said, “It definitely helps us reach a lot of people a lot more than what we would be able to, so it’s really nice to be able to be out here with all these other vendors.”

Chase Kraft, Board Member, Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “We have a variety of businesses ranging from insurance agents to boutiques, food trucks, pharmacies — just about any type that you can think of.”

Second Tuesday will take place on the second Tuesday of each month through September.

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Two solar farms coming to SEK

SOUTHEAST KANSAS — Two solar farms have made their way to Southeast Kansas – and they’re going to help people in more ways than one.

Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative has partnered with the Greenbush Education Service Center and Today’s Power Incorporated to help give renewable energy to rural county Kansas.

Michael Henderson – President of Today’s Power, said, “We can take advantage of the tax incentives that come through it, and pass those savings on to Heartland, so they can have a lower cost of electricity for their members from this facility.”

Mark Scheibe – CEO of Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, said, “The benefit from the solar is being able to provide rate stability for our members going forward and we do that by being able to reduce how much consumption we have during the peak hours, during the hottest days of the summer. And so we are able to use all of the energy that being produced locally, but also be able to provide all of the members of Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative savings because of the projects going in.”

Not only will this renewable energy farm save people money, but it’s a good opportunity for educational purposes as well.

“Heartland specifically chose this site here out by the Greenbush Education Center for an opportunity to help educate students about all aspects of renewable energy, and also solar energy. So about 15,000 to 17,000 students per year will come through once students are allowed back on campus here.”

Once students are allowed back on the campus, they will be able to use this new solar farm to learn for years to come.

“The life span of the Solar facilities it can go 40 years beyond. The reason we have used a 25 year solar power service agreement is because the panels come with a 25 year warranty, so we know that they’re warranty through that period of time,” said Henderson.

Once all the Solar Farms are finished, 80,000 homes will be powered from energy that the farms produce.

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Government helping families access broadband

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — The government is making it more affordable for families to get broadband internet.

Starting Wednesday the Federal Communications Commission is accepting applications for its Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. To qualify you must have an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

The Alliance of Southwest Missouri says this program will allow families flexibility to work from home or take part in telehealth.

Caleb Hatfield, the Alliance of SWMO, said, “Its so important because definitely around here we have a lot of low income families who don’t have a lot of cash a month to put towards an internet bill so if they have to do anything they have to go to a public library. The public library isn’t open all the time.”

Families that qualify will receive a $50 per month discount on broadband service.