Joplin city leaders seek options to expand broadband

JOPLIN, Mo. — Fiber optic broadband internet could soon be available in Joplin. The city is looking for a broadband partner to allow every home and business in the city access to faster internet.

The plan is in the “Request For Information” phase, or “RFI.” City staff want to open up a conversation with any internet service providers from across the nation that may be interested.

“The city does not want to be an internet service provider. So, we need internet service providers to come in and let us know what they need to be in place so that they will come to Joplin and offer the services to our residents so that we can get better options for everyone across the board,” said Johan Bullington, CDBG Project Manager.

State and federal grants could pay for the infrastructure to make it happen. To access the Request for Information visit: www.joplinmo.org/broadband. All final submittals are to be emailed to Johan Bullington at jbulling@joplinmo.org no later than 5:00 PM CST on September 2, 2022.


Business incubators to be installed in Granby

GRANBY, Mo. — Starting your own business can be an expensive proposition. So an area community is making that process as simple and inexpensive as possible. It’s a lot easier to start a new business when you don’t have to worry about start-up costs. That’s the thought behind a business incubator that’s in the process of going up on Main Street in Granby — just across from City Hall.

“We’re taking these shipping containers and painting, we’re going to paint them and insulate them and put in electric and water and sewer everything and especially the whole town has fiber optics to each house and we’ll be putting in fiber optics in those as well,” said Barry Flint, Treasurer, G.E.P.D.

These are renderings of what the facility will eventually look like.

To help get things off the ground, the city has kicked in $40,000 of federal funding.

Two of the 7 shipping containers that will make up the initial phase of the project are already on site. The others will be purchased as more money becomes available. The nonprofit, Granby Economic Property Development Corporation or G.E.P.D. Is behind the project.

“And we can rent those out to people who have a small business idea, but they don’t have a lot of money to spend, so we can rent them one of these places, they’ll be six actual business spots,” Flint added.

The facility is going in on the property that used to house the Lux Theater before that building came down. The next phase is to renovate the old hardware store building so business owners can transition into a more traditional business setting there. Money to fund the project will also come from proceeds of all of the items sold at a downtown thrift store.


UPDATE: Dog fallen off Shoal Creek cliffs

JOPLIN, Mo. — An update on a story we first brought you last week — a dog affectionally known as “Tumble” continues to recover at the Joplin Humane Society. He was rescued from an area in Joplin known as Mother Nature’s Crack” last week.

Like all strays, the animal has to stay at the facility for a few more days until he’s available for adoption. That is, unless, his owner shows up to claim him, in which case, he could go home at any time.

“He is extremely friendly, he loves being here, he loves the attention, he’s gaining some weight back, slowly but surely. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find his family yet. After his stray time is up, we’ll go ahead and get him going on the process to being neutered and finding his own forever home,” said Tianna Fisher, Shelter Services Manager

Fisher says all strays are held at the center for seven days to give the family plenty of time to reclaim their animal. If he isn’t claimed, Fisher says Tumble should be available for adoption by Friday.


Joplin City Council Plan B after failed Prop. Public Safety

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin City officials say there is a “Plan B” for what wasn’t approved by voters last week.

However, the details of the plan are in its infancy. The discussion was part of Monday night’s special session for the Joplin City Council.

Proposition Public Safety failed to pass on August 2nd. It would’ve increased property taxes for Joplin residents while also drastically improving funding for public safety, including police and fire.

Monday night, Joplin Mayor Doug Lawson said he was disappointed in the outcome, saying it was due to misinformation, as well as the current economy.

Officials are now looking at a Plan B that would work in conjunction with the fiscal year 2023 budget.

City Manager Nick Edwards is urging residents to come to a public hearing meeting next Monday night — a time is to be determined.


Missouri man's summer consumed by wildfire

Levi Clymer-Wildland Fire Paramedic_Photo 2
Stella, Missouri resident, Levi Clymer (pictured on the far right) poses with those he works with out in the field as a wildland fire paramedic.

STELLA, Mo. — It’s prime wildfire season in the western United States, which requires firefighters and paramedics from all fifty states to help extinguish.

Here in Missouri, there’s one man living locally that answers the call for help out west: Levi Clymer from Stella.

Most of the year, Levi Clymer works as a firefighter for the Rogers Fire Department in Rogers, Arkansas.

But when the summer months roll around, Clymer spends several of the year’s hottest weeks with the “Northern Rockies Incident Management Team,” serving as a paramedic.

“That’s our goal is to keep everybody on the fire lines healthy, and keep them working,” said Clymer.

| Heat Impact On The Four States >

Fire season in the western United States got off to an early start this year.

Clymer has already spent a couple weeks in New Mexico, and just recently returned from Alaska where he was deployed for a month.

Clymer, who will soon turn 40, is now in his 16th season as a wildfire paramedic.

“I enjoy the excitement of it. It’s something that’s related to the field that I’m in, but it’s another offshoot of it that’s completely different. So you know, even as a firefighter paramedic at Rogers, I enjoy my job, but sometimes it gets… I don’t want to necessarily say monotonous, but you know, it’s kind of the same thing, in and out. But this is something that’s completely different. That kind of keeps my interest, you know, focusing on something new every summer.”

When he does head out west during the summer months, Clymer leaves behind several at home in Stella.

“My wife is an amazing person. But, we’ve been doing this for for several years. Whenever we started, we only had two children in the house. They were young, and it would be a short time that I’d be gone, maybe three weeks at most or maybe four if it was real busy summer. As time has progressed and our family has grown, now my wife is staying at home with six of our kids that are still school age. I’ve got an older son that comes home during the summer from college, but she’s here with all of our kids, so it gets a little bit harder every year, but everyone’s kind of accustomed to it. It’s kind of the norm. They know that during the summer we try and get some fun stuff in before fire season really hits and then they know that Dad’s usually gone July and August and then he comes home shortly after school starts.”

| Mutual Aid “Vital” For Busy Fire Days >

Clymer says each fire season seems to outdo the last, but his most memorable year is 2020, not long after the COVID pandemic began.

“It seems like they’re gradually getting a little bit worse (wildfire season), you know, with population moving into more forested areas and stuff. I would have to say 2020 was pretty, pretty rough. And of course, we had the complexities of COVID and the uncertainties of COVID running around, along with fighting fire because we’re sometimes in a small community of, you know, anywhere from 200 to 2000 people easily. So being on the medical side that year was extra difficult for us, because then we’re trying to mitigate the COVID and keep guys healthy and then still focus on the main task at hand.”

Despite that task becoming more difficult with each passing summer, Clymer says he feels rewarded by serving those who put their lives on the line, and that’s what keeps him coming back each fire season.

“I would say a lot of it is the challenge and complexity of it. I work with one of the largest teams in the nation that coordinates containment and suppression in our natural areas so there’s a lot of complexity to it and a lot of challenge with it and I enjoy that challenge,” says Levi Clymer.

During the summer months, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team primarily works wildland fires in the northwestern United States, for a minimum of two weeks at a time.


Joplin hits record water use/supply issues

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s been a record-setting summer in Joplin – with the area using more water than ever before. Combine that with a lack of rain, and it’s a challenge to make sure supply meets demand.

“It’s kind of a perfect storm of events if you will. We haven’t had any significant rainfall, and we’ve had these extended heat temperatures, temperatures that have been in the three digits for a while,” said Christie Barnhart, Mo. Am. Water.

Add those up, and it’s a challenge to make sure Joplin has enough water. The Missouri American Water Company isn’t calling for conservation measures, yet.

“That of course is always the first step, voluntary. Mandatory is something we hope we don’t get to of course because that looks at restricting water usage that is non-essential. That could impact businesses. We don’t want it to get to that but we are at the mercy of Mother Nature right now a little bit,” Barnhart added.

Rain would help replenish water at the source. Joplin’s biggest is surface water.

“85% of our water comes from Shoal Creek. 15% from our wells. We’re using everything that we have available to us in terms of being able to meet demand right now. And right now we’re meeting it, but we’re definitely seeing system delivery in numbers that we haven’t seen before,” she added.

A new reservoir is in the works. It’s currently in the permitting phase, but it won’t be adding to the water supply any time soon.

“We could hear something in six months we could hear something in two years. However, what is new regarding this story is we are looking at some steps to take in the interim to help us bridge the gap for a meeting the demand of water in the area.”

That’s likely the addition of one or two new wells.

“It would probably involve one or two new wells, which of course we know are not a long term solution, but you know, to get us through a couple of years that would suffice to meet the demand,” she said.

Which continues to grow.


Joplin Schools add mental health program for employees and family

JOPLIN, Mo. — A new school year for Joplin School District employees will bring with it more than just a new school year. The Board of Education has green-lighted a proposal to implement a new “Employee Assistance Program.” It will provide mental health support and more to all district employees, spouses, children, and other family members living in the home, regardless of their current enrollment in district healthcare plans. It goes into effect on October 1st.

“Typically an employee assistance program is focused primarily on mental health, and that was the primary function when we looked at it. But we compared several different options for them and found one that offered a lot more than just mental health, that would be a full-blown resource for the employees and their families for different stages of life that they’re facing,” said Jamie Brummett, Barker Phillips Jackson Insurance.

Management training will also be included for district personnel — as well as access to a “Crisis Response Team.”


Jasper Co. 4-H youth needs, Military Care Packages

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — An area youth organization needs your help to brighten the day for a service man or woman stationed far from home. The Jasper County 4-H Club received a $1,500 grant from the state 4-H office recently and will put that money towards a project to send care packages to soldiers overseas.

The group plans on sending the items around the anniversary of 9/11 this fall.

“That grant money is really going to go towards helping us pay the shipping costs. Items that the kids are looking to collect include things like lip balm, reading materials, decks of playing cards, beef jerky, things like that, things that remind you of home,” said Tianna Fisher, Pleasant Valley Pioneers 4-H Club Leader.

The group hopes to send as many as 50 packages to soldiers in Guam, Japan, Germany, and the Middle East.

If you’d like to know where the boxes are located so you can drop off items you can follow this link here.


News To Know: body discovered by abandoned farmhouse, motorcycle hit and run, train collides with tractor trailer

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – The Jasper County sheriff’s department opens an investigation after a body is found in a vehicle in a rural part of the county. Authorities say the body was found around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon near Civil War and Pine Road at a long-abandoned farmhouse in Carytown. Detectives say a vehicle was found behind the farmhouse with the body inside, believed to be that of a missing Alba woman, Michele Stone. Authorities do not suspect foul play at this time, but the investigation is ongoing. Click here to read more about this story.

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – Authorities in Newton County, Missouri open an investigation after a vehicle flees the scene after rear-ending a motorcycle and injuring its rider. The crash happened shortly before 10:00 pm Monday along I-49 Gateway Drive. Authorities say 52-year-old Bradley Pippin was riding his motorcycle north near the gateway exit when he was hit. Pippen was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

COFFEYVILLE, Ks. – A Montgomery County Kansas Road was closed Wednesday morning after a train collided with a tractor-trailer. It happened on South Walnut near Coffeyville. Authorities say no one was injured in the crash. Click here if you’d like more information about this story.

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Authorities in Pittsburg have charged a man for firing a gun near a house with children in it and damaging property. Police say around 3:00 Wednesday morning they responded to a domestic incident. When they arrived — they found 39-year-old Corbin Murray in the backyard of the home with a shotgun and rifle pointed in the direction of an officer. Police were able to knock the weapons out of his hands and arrest him. Authorities say before that Murray hit a woman in the home and damaged property while children were inside. Murray is charged with domestic battery, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, and five counts of aggravated endangering a child. Click here to read more about this story.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: On Tuesday voters in Kansas had a chance to vote on whether or not to protect abortion rights in the state and voters came out in droves…to vote to uphold the state’s abortion protections. A significant number of voters turned out for what was a statewide election and it was the first test any state has faced since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. We want to know what you think: do you think the issue of abortion and abortion rights should be in the hands of the voters? Head over to the Instapoll section of our website and vote now.


Kodiak Rd. dedicated to longtime Neosho businessman

NEOSHO, Mo. — The final part of a road construction project in Neosho received a bit of fanfare this morning. A number of officials were on hand as a portion of Kodiak Road, which was recently finished, was dedicated to Gene Schwartz, Senior. He’s a longtime Neosho business owner and one of the founding members of the “Neosho Transportation Development District.”

“I’m totally surprised and pleased with everybody’s thankfulness of what they and us all did. Wasn’t just me, you know, the group,” said Gene Schwartz, Sr., Honoree.

“It’s been rewarding when we get to this point now and we can see this thing done. The roads out here are now safer, much safer. We have this beautiful school complex out here that now we have good roads to get to it, and safe roads to get to it, so we’re excited about that,” added Steve Roark, Neosho TDD.

The TDD has been in existence since 2010 and, since that time, has funded a number of infrastructure projects in and around Neosho.