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 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. 

Master Gardener classes will start soon for the fall semester, and many of them will be online.

"The motto of the Master Gardener program is helping others learn to grow," said David Trinklein,  Missouri Master Gardener program coordinator for University Extension.

The Master Gardener program started in the 1970s when there was what Trinklein calls "a tremendous interest in gardening."  Oregon State University’s Extension employees were overwhelmed with requests for gardening information.

There were 95 new cases of COVID-19 reported to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Tuesday.  That's a new one-day record, according to the health department.  There were 82 new cases on Wednesday.

"The cases are under investigation, so the circumstances surrounding each case are currently unknown," health officials said in a statement.  They'll analyze trends and update the community "with the latest information we have in combating COVID-19."

The Springfield Public School District Wednesday announced possible COVID-19 exposures.  The district said in a statement that an individual associated with Hillcrest High School tested positive for the illness.

Prior to become symptomatic, the person interacted with others, while masked, at these locations:

A bird hanging out along the Current River near Doniphan right now must be wondering where it is.  Birders have identified the gray and white bird as a brown booby.  And their habitat is nowhere near here.

Steve Paes is a forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation.  He said he’s not a bird expert, though he enjoys birding, but this is what experts have told him.

Unsheltered individuals in Springfield will be able to stay in hotel rooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for at least 2 more weeks.

This week, the United Way of the Ozarks approved an emergency allocation of $22,000 to Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ Merciful Nights Campaign.  The funds were donated to the United Way by BKD’s special employee giving campaign to support emerging community needs from the pandemic, according to Community Partnership. 

Four more Taney County, Missouri residents have died of COVID-19.  They were all associated with Taney County nursing homes, according to the Taney County Health Department. 

The health department recently announced that 72 people associated with four nursing homes in the county had tested positive.

Tuesday, Taney County had recorded a total of 454 confirmed cases and nine deaths.

Sixteen broadband projects from eight providers will get more than $3 million, according to Missouri Governor Mike Parson. The money is from the state’s Emergency Broadband Investment Program and is expected to connect nearly 2000 households, a news release states.

In southwest Missouri, Barry Technology Services will receive $82,000 to connect 42 households with improved internet service in Barry and McDonald Counties. 

Higher Vision Works LLC will get $94,500 to extend internet service to 180 households in Theodosia and Protem in Ozark and Taney Counties.

After a meeting that lasted around 4 and a half hours, the Ozark Board of Aldermen tabled an ordinance that would require face coverings in public spaces.

Several people spoke for and against the mandate.

Two more people have died of COVID-19, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.  That brings the total number of deaths in August to five and the total number since the pandemic began to 16 in Greene County.

The latest deaths were a woman in her 90s and a man in his 50s.  Both had underlying health conditions, according to the health department.

Springfield Public School nurses return to work Tuesday.  They’ll be receiving additional training in the next two weeks before a new school year begins during a pandemic.

Jean Grabeel, director of health services for the district, said they’ll train them on things like personal protective equipment or PPE, what symptoms to watch for that could indicate a case of COVID-19 and when to isolate a student.  There will also be online training available to them.

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller, members of his staff and four volunteers are in quarantine and have been since last Thursday.  That's after they learned they’d been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.  There are eight people quarantined in all.

Schoeller said the person with the illness was not an election judge and they do not work directly with the public.

Students in pre-K through grade five in the Springfield Public School District will get free school supplies this year.

The district said in a statement that supplies will be ready for kids enrolled in the in-person learning option on their first day in the classroom.  Students doing the virtual learning option will be able to pick up supplies for learning at home.

Someone with COVID-19 worked out at the Dan Kinney Family Center on Blackman Rd. recently.  And that prompted the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to warn the public of potential high-risk community exposures.

The person exposed more than 300 people at the center over the course of several days, according to the health department.  While they wore a mask upon entering and exiting the building, they were not masked while they worked out.

The City of Ozark’s board of aldermen will consider an ordinance requiring face coverings at its meeting Monday, August 10, at 6 p.m.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed mandate, which is meant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Six people are in custody after the Branson Police Department and the Taney County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant on a Branson motel early Sunday morning.

The Branson Police Department made the arrests after they discovered drugs and money counterfeiting operations at the Metropolitan Motel on Schaefer Drive.

According to the city, an assortment of drugs and firearms were seized along with evidence of a counterfeiting operation.