Michele Skalicky | KBIA

Michele Skalicky

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. Michele enjoys hiking, camping, taking an active role in her two girls’ activities and caring for her family’s two guinea pigs, two cats, two dogs and five fish.

The Movies at Founders Park Series continues this weekend at Founders Park, 330 E. Water in Springfield.  See “How to Train your Dragon:  The Hidden World,” rated PG, Friday night (7/19) at dusk and “Crazy Rich Asians,” rated PG-13, Saturday night (7/20).  Take blankets and lawn chairs.  

An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued today through Saturday for several counties in southwest and central Missouri.  A heat advisory is in effect for much of southern MO and Northern Arkansas. 

The state of Missouri has requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency expand last week’s federal disaster declaration for the state.

The State Emergency Management Agency Tuesday requested that FEMA consider extending President Trump’s July 9 Individual Assistance disaster declaration for Missouri to include residents and businesses in 21 additional counties.  Barton, Christian, Dallas, Douglas, Laclede and Polk are among those 21 counties. 

Even though a new law is now in effect in Springfield that limits the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes to those 21 and older, it won’t be immediately enforced, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

City Council approved Tobacco 21 Monday night.

Health department officials say the intent of this ordinance is to prevent young people from smoking. According to the Institutes of Medicine, 96 percent of current smokers started smoking before the age of 21.

It’s now illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age in Springfield.

Springfield City Council voted unanimously, with one person absent, Monday night to approve change in city code to adopt the “Tobacco 21 Act.”  It includes the sale of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products and vapor products.

Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson said before the vote that she planned to vote yes in honor of her dad.

Donations to the MSU Foundation in Fiscal Year 2019 totaled $20,083,060.  It’s the second year in a row that donations exceeded $20 million.

According to the foundation, the money is used to support student scholarships and programs, faculty research and facilities enhancement.

Brent Dunn called the donations “crucial to the continuing development of the university.”

Another $4.2 million in deferred gift commitments were established in FY19, according to the foundation.

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park, 3825 W. Farm Rd. 146, will host a Family Fishing Night Friday night (7/12) from 6 to 9.  Take your own bait and gear for catch and release fishing.  There will also be a cow train, a bounce house and a campfire.  Registration is required. 

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board keeps at least one outdoor pool open late during heat advisories issued by the National Weather Service.  Westport Pool, 3100 W. Mt. Vernon, will stay open until 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 10.  Admission is $2.50 for youth and seniors and $3 for adults between 1 and 5:30 p.m.  Admission is $1 or free with a canned food item donation from 5:30 to 8. 

President Trump has granted a federal disaster declaration for Missouri.  It allows for Federal Emergency Management Agency Individual Assistance in 20 counties impacted by severe weather starting April 29.

Those counties are:  Andrew, Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Greene, Holt, Jackson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lincoln, Livingston, Miller, Osage, Pike, Platte, Pulaski and St. Charles.

A new Missouri law authorizes the Missouri Department of Revenue to revoke the driver’s license of anyone who hits a highway or utility worker in a work zone or an emergency responder in an emergency zone.

House Bill 499, known as “Lyndon’s Law,” was signed by Governor Mike Parson Tuesday.  It's named for Lyndon Ebker, who was a 30-year employee of the Missouri Department of Transportation when he was struck and killed in a Franklin County work zone in 2016.

A bill signed Tuesday by Governor Mike Parson permanently extends the Wartime Veteran’s Survivor Grant Program, which was scheduled to sunset on August 28, 2020.

The program awards up to 25 college scholarships annually to spouses or children of Missouri veterans who died or became disabled during combat.

A heat advisory is in effect from noon to 7 today.  The highest heat index in southwest Missouri is expected to be 107.

According to the National Weather Service, a heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is holding meetings across the state for people to learn more about black bears.  The first is Tuesday, July 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way. 

MDC furbearer biologist, Laura Conlee, said the open houses are a chance for the public to comment on the department’s draft black bear management plan.

The third and final public meeting on the future of the Galloway area in Springfield will be held Tuesday night (7/9).

For the third straight year, attendance at the Springfield Art Museum is up.  Since last July, 63,379 people visited the museum on E. Brookside Drive.    That’s 2,809 more visitors than the same period the year before and 4,803 more than the period before that.

Museum spokesman, Joshua Best, credits several things for the continued increase in visitors.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has reduced the number of counties in its management zone for chronic wasting disease or CWD.  Starting this month, the number of counties in the zone drops from 48 to 29. 

Counties that were dropped in southwest Missouri include Dade and McDonald.

Starting Wednesday, July 3, Mt. Vernon Street west of Kansas Expressway will be closed for three months for construction to replace the Mt. Vernon Street bridge over Jordan Creek. 

The Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival continues Friday and Saturday (7/5-7/6) at 2229 Bluegrass Rd. in Conway.  

The First Friday Art Walk is Friday night (7/5) from 6 to 10 at 16 venues in downtown Springfield.  

The Missouri Department of Transportation will start work on July 15 to widen Highway 160 from I-44 to Jackson St. in Willard to four lanes.  

The $18.6 million project will include adding two lanes to the existing two-lane highway, safety improvements at several intersections between I-44 and Jackson Street and installing a pedestrian underpass at Hunt Rd. for the Frisco Highline Trail.  Three intersections will be converted to roundabouts:  Farm Rd. 94, Jackson St. and Hunt Rd. and one to a J-Turn:  Farm Rd. 123.  Two will get signal upgrades.

Two people will share the position of superintendent of academics for Springfield Public Schools in the next school year.   

Dr. Stephen Kleinsmith and Dr. Kent Medlin will serve in an interim, part-time capacity for the 2019-2020 school year.  They’ll share oversight of Elementary and Secondary Education; Learning Supports and Innovation; and Special Education and English Language Learner Supports.

Timmons Hall was once about to be torn down to make way for new apartment buildings.  The native Ozark stone structure that sat at the corner of Texas and Webster in Springfield was known at one time as Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ and was built in 1932.  It served the city's African American community for more than 80 years.  The nonprofit group, Friends of Timmons Temple, was formed in 2014 to to perserve the structure with its unique stone exterior, including sunburst patterns also found in retaining walls at nearby Silver Springs Park.  Enough money was raised to move Timmons

Have a Blast! will be held Friday night (6/28) at 6 at JR Martin Park, 300 E. Hines in Republic.  The event includes live music with Members Only, balloon art, face painting, inflatables, carnival games, a petting zoo and more.  A fireworks show will end the event. 

Flooding impacted about half of the city of Cassville late in the day Wednesday as several inches of rain feel in a short period of time.

Several roads in the town were closed, including Highway 37, and emergency workers performed four water rescues.  Multiple homes and businesses were affected.

A flood warning for central Barry County continues until 10:30 this morning.  According to the National Weather Service, this warning includes, but is not limited to these low water crossings:

State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office has begun an audit of the Greene County government.  That follows a formal request from the county commission earlier this year.

Last December, Galloway asked the commission to authorize the audit after a whistleblower complaint alleged improper use of public resources in connection with a ballot issue.

Galloway says the audit will explain in detail any issues her office finds and will provide recommendations for officials to address them. 

UPDATED AT 5:15 PM TUESDAY, 6/25/19:   According to a press release from the city, Springfield Police Officers located 14-year-old Catrionna Robinson at an apartment complex on 940 E. Webster late Tuesday afternoon. Robinson is safe and in good condition, according to officials. 

KSMU's Michele Skalicky met up with Missouri Department of Conservation urban forester, Cindy Garner, recently at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center to talk about diseases and insects that can affect trees.  MDC will hold a tree pest clinic Tuesday, June 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the nature center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way. 

Garner pointed to a hawthorn that has cedar hawthorn rust, which she said is common in Missouri.  It’s caused by spores that infect the tree at the time it flowers.

Diego Brawn is just 22-years-old, and he’s already living the life he dreamed of while he was a student at Bolivar High School:  Touring with national Christian music recording artists.

The road that led Brawn to where he is today started in Mexico City where he was born.  He doesn’t remember much about the time before he and his sister, mom and dad came to the United States.

Temitayo “Tayo” Bakare is 35-years-old with a family and a job as clinical director of pharmacy at CoxHealth in Springfield.  But her life began thousands of miles away in Africa.  She learned to be on her own at a time when many children in the United States are just beginning to test the waters of independence with their parents close by. 

She grew up in Nigeria and remembers a fun childhood there.

"I'm number two of five, grew up in a pretty large family, had aunties and uncles around," she said, "father died when I was nine-years-old."

The 13th annual Hot Air Balloon Glow will be held Friday night (6/21) from 5 to 11 at Finley River Park in Ozark.  Hot air balloons will inflate and glow, and you can get an up close look at them.  It’s part of the 4C Sertoma Duck Race Festival.  There will be food trucks, craft booths, a kids’ zone, beer garden and live music.  The Duck Waddle 5K starts at 8 a.m.

Mercy Springfield is laying off workers.  According to a statement from Mercy, the decision to cut down its workforce was made because the healthcare system “continues to be challenged by reduced reimbursement” for the services it provides, “especially from Medicare and Medicaid which do not fully cover the costs of care.”

The statement said Mercy is also seeing increased expenses for labor “in an increasingly competitive job market,” and it’s impacted by rising costs for drugs and supplies as well.