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.

If you go to buy a bike these days, you’ll find a much smaller selection. That’s because there’s a worldwide shortage of bicycles.  

That's, in part, because bicycling has grown in popularity this year.  When the coronavirus pandemic began, more people started buying bikes, and manufacturers are still trying to keep up with demand.  The shutdown of factories that make bicycles and bicycle parts added to the problem.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, said 36 percent of COVID-19 cases in the county in August were 18 to 22-year-olds.  In the last week, 58 percent of COVID-19 cases were in that age group.

He told Springfield City Council Tuesday that’s not surprising.

There have been 19 deaths from COVID-19 in Greene County in August, and most were residents of long-term care facilities.

The latest death was a man in his 80s with underlying medical conditions who lived in a nursing home.  This was the 13th death of a long-term care facility resident this month.  Greene County has a total of 30 deaths from COVID-19.

Several more organizations in Greene County will receive money through the CARES Act Relief Fund.  The Greene County Commission has approved more than $10 million in funding for 59 additional applications.

Those who are receiving funding are:

Nonprofit/community organizations

Another resident of a long-term care facility in Greene County has died of COVID-19.  The 18th death this month was a man in his 80s who had underlying health conditions.  There’s been a total of 29 deaths from COVID-19 in the county.

As of Thursday morning, Greene County had 1,350 active cases and a total of 2,834 cases since the pandemic began.  There were 90 people hospitalized in the county with COVID-19 with 12 in the ICU.

There’s a critical need for all A and O blood types at the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks.  Reserves of those types have been far below ideal levels for some time now, according to CBCO spokesman, Chris Pilgrim.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced that three more people have died of COVID-19 in Greene County.  They were two women in their 80s and a man in his 90s.  All had underlying medical conditions and were living in long-term care facilities.

There have been 17 deaths from COVID-19 in August alone.  Eleven of those were in long-term care facilities.  A total of 28 Greene County residents have died of the illness.

Another person has died in Greene County of COVID-19.  The latest death was a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions who lived in a long-term care facility.

This was the 14th COVID-19 death in Greene County this month, and the 25th overall. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Greene County had recorded 2662 cases of COVID-19, and 1,288 of those were still active.  Eighty-two people were hospitalized because of the illness with 20 in the ICU. 

Drury University has recorded 43 cases of COVID-19 since June 22.  According to the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard, 17 of the positive cases have been on campus. 

Drury resumed in-person classes on August 20.  Since then, 16 students and one staff member have tested positive.

Drury is notifying close contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19.

An effort is underway in Joplin to place Memorial Hall on the National Register of Historic Places.

An informational meeting will be held next Tuesday night (9/1) at 6 in Council Chambers at Joplin City Hall, 602 S. Main Street.  Matthew Pearce with Preservation and Design Studio, LLC of Oklahoma City will talk about the national register, and citizens will be able to ask questions.

The Springfield Police Department conducted masking ordinance compliance checks at several area businesses Friday and Saturday night.  Officers looked for whether or not businesses were using signage; enforcing masking, social distancing and capacity limits; and making sure patrons were putting on masks when moving throughout a business, according to the department.

Officers witnessed “a high level of compliance,” and all businesses they checked were complying with capacity limits.  Employees of the businesses wore masks, according to a news release.

The Springfield Police Department’s K9, Charlie, is retiring.  The Malinois from Denmark began working with SPD in 2014.  He was a model K9 who enjoyed working--from tracking bad guys to conducting car sniffs, according to the department.

Charlie will live with his handler, Sgt. Michael Karnes, and his family in retirement.  He will get to relax and enjoy life by playing outside in the yard or laying around the house, according to SPD.

Department officials said they are grateful for Charlie’s service and they wish him plenty of naps and lots of treats in retirement.

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations says it’s working to issue Lost Wage Assistance benefit payments to unemployed workers.  Payments could go out later this week.

According to a news release, Missouri was granted initial federal funding for the LWA program and will pay eligible recipients an additional $300 per week retroactively to the week ending August 1, 2020.

There are two more deaths from COVID-19 in Greene County.  They were a man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s in long-term care facilities.  They both had underlying health conditions, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Thirteen people have died of COVID-19 in August, and there are a total of 24 deaths in Greene County.

As of Monday afternoon, there were 1,265 active cases and a total of 2,585 cases.  There were 84 people hospitalized with 18 in the ICU.

Beginning October 7, American Airlines will suspend service to Joplin.  That city is one of 15 markets the airline is suspending service to because of what it call low demand and the expiration of the air service requirements associated with the CARES Act.

For now, the changes will remain in place until November 3.  But American Airlines in a news release said it will continue to “reassess plans for those and other markets as an extension of the Payroll Support Program remains under deliberation.”

The Greene County Commission has approved money for 35 more organizations through the CARES Act Relief Fund.

The funding distribution is recommended to the commission by a 30-member volunteer group.

Organizations receiving funding in this distribution are:

Non-Profit/Community Organizations

The northside office of the Missouri Job Center in Springfield reopens Thursday, August 20.  The center has moved to The Fairbanks at 1126 N. Broadway in partnership with the Drew Lewis Foundation.

Hours will be Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The new location has two bus stops.  It will have four computer stations for job seekers to use to find work or to take part in online workshops.

The job center had been located in the Cox Medical Tower since it opened in 2016.

The Better Business Bureau of Southwest Missouri is warning of some scams that are active right now.

One of them is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, and the scammers are targeting residents in the Springfield area.  That’s according to Better Business Bureau regional director, Stephanie Garland.  She calls it a version of an old car wrap scam with a COVID-19 twist.

Five more Greene County residents have died of COVID-19.  They were all in long-term care facilities.  The latest deaths were a man in his 70s; two men in their 80s; a woman in her 70s and a woman in her 80s—all with underlying health conditions.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, long-term care facilities are environments where a respiratory illness can easily spread.  And the spread of COVID-19 can be especially devastating there where residents are at higher risk if they catch the illness.

When classes began Monday at Missouri State University, there were 19,733 students enrolled on the Springfield campus.

Enrollment is down 2.9 percent, according to MSU officials.  But degree-seeking graduate student enrollment set a new record.  It’s up 10.7 percent.

MSU President Clif Smart said they expected to see a significant decrease in enrollment this fall.  But he said, even with the pandemic, they’re starting the semester in a much stronger position than they anticipated.

Three more people have died of COVID-19 in Taney County.  The Taney County Health Department announced the deaths Wednesday.  The three are associated with Taney County nursing homes.

The latest numbers show Taney County having 542 confirmed cases, with 201 under investigation, and 14 deaths.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway gives Greene County a “good” rating in a recent audit.  The audit was released today by Galloway’s office.  It was formally requested last year by the Greene County Commission and looked at the operations of county government agencies other than the county commission and the sheriff, according to a news release.  Audits of those two agencies continue.

Some residents of the West Plains area are speaking up in support of the U.S. Postal Service.  The group, Indivisible:  Heart of the Ozarks hosted a demonstration today in West Plains.  The event was held in support of the postal service but also out of concern that recent changes to the organization could mean some mail-in votes won’t count in the November election.

The Ozark Board of Aldermen has voted down a mask ordinance for the city.

Area colleges are starting back up after being closed for a few months due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Monday, August 17, is the first day at Missouri State University and Missouri Southern State University.  Thousands of students will head back to class.  And, while Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, is satisfied with colleges’ plans to return in a pandemic, he has this message for students.

Branson’s mayor is urging the community to take COVID-19 seriously.  Edd Akers calls the latest numbers “sobering.” 

In a letter to the community Akers says, as of July 20, Taney County had 152 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.  As of August 13, the county had 490 cases and 11 deaths.

Akers says everyone should wear masks, wash their hands often and practice social distancing.

The Nathan Boone Homestead State Historic Site will get a new name Saturday, August 15.  The site in Ash Grove will be renamed the Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site. 

The name change is the first for Legacy of Women, a Women’s Foundation initiative to recognize women’s historical contributions in state parks, historic sites and other public spaces, according to a news release.

The first set of grants through the CARES Act Relief Fund in Greene County is going to recipients.

The Greene County Commission says nearly four million-nine-hundred-thousand dollars has been approved. 

The Taney County Health Department says two more Taney County residents have died of COVID-19. One of the deaths is associated with a Taney County nursing home. 

The total COVID-19 death count for Taney County is 11 as of August 12.

One of these two recent deaths is associated with a Taney County nursing home.  The TCHD continues to work with local nursing home facilities and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, according to a news release.

The director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Clay Goddard, said Thursday the county is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases.  At least 42 cases are associated with the Greene County Jail and long-term care facilities. 

As of Thursday morning, there were 1813 total cases of COVID-19 in Greene County, and 802 of those were active.  Sixteen people have died of the illness.  Sixty-six people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 14 of them are in the ICU.

But Goddard said that doesn’t mean the mask ordinance in Springfield isn’t working.