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.

Two more Taney County residents have died of COVID-19.  They're related to the nursing home cases the Taney County Health Department reported on August 5.  The total number of deaths in the county from COVID-19 is five.

As of August 3, a total of 72 cases had been confirmed in four facilities, according to the health department.

Cox College's learning model will look different when classes start back up on August 17.

The college’s curriculum will be delivered in a hybrid model of in-person and virtual classes, according to a news release.  The goal, it said, is to keep students off-campus “when appropriate.”

When students arrive on campus, they’ll be required to undergo a screening for COVID-19 symptoms and get a temperature check.  They’ll also be required to wear masks.

Greene County now has 14 deaths from COVID-19.  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says a women in her 80s who was immunocompromised is the latest in the county to die of the illness caused by the coronavirus. 

This is the third COVID-19 death in Greene County in August.

As of Friday morning, there were 588 cases of COVID-19 in the county.  There were 60 people hospitalized with the illness, and 13 of those were in ICU.

The City of Springfield is planning intersection and traffic calming improvements in the Cherry and Pickwick area.  And it’s asking for public feedback.

The planned improvements will be along Cherry Street from Fremont on the west to the railroad crossing on the east.  The project design includes what are called “bulb-outs”—extensions of the curbline into the roadway.  They are intended to narrow the street, which will force traffic to slow down, according to the city.  But they’ll also reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians and provide more greenspace.

Burrell Behavioral Health is expanding services to Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield youth and families.  Burrell signed a memorandum of understanding this week with the Boys & Girls Clubs to include clinical behavioral health services.  A licensed Burrell clinician will now be located on-site at the Musgrave and Fremont units to provide individual and group therapy sessions, according to the Boys & Girls Clubs Facebook page.

Another Greene County resident has died of COVID-19.  According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the latest death was a woman in her 80s who was immunocompromised. 

There’s now a total of 13 deaths related to COVID-19 in Greene County.

When classes resume in Springfield Public Schools August 24, students will only go in-person two days a week because of the pandemic.  And some parents have opted to go to all virtual learning.  A local healthcare system is going to offer its employees a place where their kids can continue to learn while they go to work. 

CoxHealth’s Meyer Center will close its doors at the end of the business day Wednesday, August 12. And, when it reopens, it will be as a student care program for children of Cox employees.

There are 70 cases of COVID-19 associated with four nursing homes in Taney County.

According to the Taney County Health Department, residents and family members have been notified of the positive cases.

As of Tuesday at 3 p.m. there were 32 cases of COVID-19 at Point Lookout Nursing and Rehab, 34 at Shepherd of the Hills Living Center, three at Forsyth Nursing & Rehab and one at Lakeside Mountain Manor.

KSMU talked to voters who had just cast ballots Tuesday at polling sites in Springfield.  We asked why they went to the polls despite the pandemic.

Voter Jack McGee:  "I've just been wanting to, I guess, just get more involved in voting for local and state politics more than just on Election Day every four years."

McGee said yes to expanding Medicaid in Missouri.

Springfield voters have agreed to impose a 5,000 dollar annual fee on short-term lending businesses, commonly referred to as payday lenders. 

Critics of "payday," or "title" loans say they prey on the poor and reinforce the cycle of poverty. A task force recommended the annual fee to Springfield City Council earlier.

The issue was posed to Springfield voters as "Question 1" on Tuesday, and nearly 57 percent said "yes" to imposing the fee on payday lenders.

Two more people have died in Taney County due to COVID-19.  A man in his 80s and a man in his 70s were residents of the county, according to the Taney County Health Department.  That brings the total number of deaths in Taney County to five.

Two-thirds of the cases reported in the county are community-spread, health officials there say.  That means they’re not linked to other positive cases of COVID-19.  They are strongly encouraging residents and visitors to wear a face covering, social distance, wash hands frequently and stay home of they’re sick.

Voters are heading to the polls today for the August Primary Election.  Polls opened at 6 this morning, and they’ll remain open until 7 tonight.

A new study by the Better Business Bureau shows that 44 percent of Americans have been a victim of a government impostor scam.  It also finds that scammers are using the pandemic to try to take advantage of people by posing as representatives of government agencies.

Stephanie Garland, Springfield regional director for the Better Business Bureau, says they’ve seen an increase in government imposter scams in southwest Missouri since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

UPDATE:  Jerrty Johnson has been located and is safe.

Original Story:  An endangered silver advisory has been issued by the Lee’s Summit Police Department. 

There's been another death in Greene County due to COVID-19.  According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the patient was a man in his 80s who was immunocompromised.  He was not associated with a long-term care facility.  That brings the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Greene County to 11.

There were 32 new cases of COVID-19 in Greene County on Thursday.  There were 495 active cases.  And Missouri set a new daily record for confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day.  There were 2,084 on Thursday.  

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says they’ve received reports from residents who received seeds they didn’t order from places like China and surrounding areas.  Several other states have also reported packages of seeds being delivered across the U.S.  The packages were labeled as containing stud earrings, bracelets and other accessories, according to a statement.   They're warning Missourians not to plant them.

Joplin residents who missed the recent mask distribution by the city can still get a free mask.  Masks will be available in the Joplin City Hall main lobby, the police department foyer and at fire stations #2, #4 and #6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through August 7 or until the masks are gone. They are being offered via self-serve, and residents can pick up a mask for themselves as well as other family members or neighbors who may need one but have not received one yet, according to the city.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, is optimistic the masking ordinance in Springfield is helping to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Face coverings are now required in public spaces in the city of Branson.  The city’s board of aldermen voted four to one in favor of a masking ordinance during a special meeting on Tuesday.

The ordinance goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. this Friday, July 31, and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, September 8.

With one week to go before Missouri’s primary election, faith and civic leaders gathered Tuesday in Springfield to urge voters to say “yes” to two ballot issues.  One would expand Medicaid in Missouri, and the other would impose a $5000 annual fee on new short-term loan businesses in the city of Springfield.

Leaders from Baptist, Methodist and non-denominational church groups said their faith compels them to act justly.  They said the working poor currently don’t have a way to pay for health care and that what they call “predatory lending” traps people in a cycle of debt.

The Community Blood Center is having a hard time keeping up with the need for blood at the more than 40 area healthcare facilities it serves.  It’s issued a critical appeal for all blood types.

"We're just simply not able to keep pace right now with area hospital usage," said Chris Pilgrim, media relations representative for the CBCO.  "We're not able to build up our reserve levels to any appreciative standard."

There’s less than a two-day supply of blood reserves on shelves right now, he said. 

Two more people have died from COVID-19 in Jasper County.

According to the Jasper County Health Department, they were both women.  One was in her 50s, and the other was in her 60s.  They were both hospitalized.  That brings the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Jasper County to six.

As the coronavirus continues to spread in Missouri, state fair officials are making big changes to this year’s event.

There won’t be a carnival, opening day ceremony, Governor’s Ham Breakfast or any non-youth livestock events.

Instead, this year’s Missouri State Fair will be a youth livestock show August 13-23 in Sedalia. 

Due to the new mask ordinance in Springfield, the Springfield-Greene County Library reminds patrons they’ll have to wear masks at the library branches in the city.  But it’s also made the decision to require masks at its branches in Willard, Republic, Fair Grove, Strafford and Ash Grove as well.

According to library officials, anyone under age 11 is exempt as well as those with health conditions that prevent the wearing of masks.  

The requirement goes through October 14.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is taking part in a high speed enforcement campaign Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18, from noon to midnight along with four other states:  Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Officers will focus on enforcing traffic laws related to excessive speed, hazardous moving/aggressive driving and distracted driving, according to the Highway Patrol.

CoxHealth will open a new clinic in Harrison, Arkansas soon. The clinic will be its first outside Missouri. 

The standalone clinic will offer a range of services, according to CoxHealth, including primary care, management of chronic health conditions, sports physicals, preventative screenings and minor procedures.  It will be located at 715 W. Sherman and will be open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5.

CoxHealth currently has more than 80 clinics in southwest Missouri. 

The Branson Board of Aldermen has postponed a vote on an ordinance to mandate face coverings in the city.  That decision was unanimous after more than eight hours of public comment and discussion at a meeting Thursday.  Alderman Kevin McConnell wasn’t present.   

The City of Joplin says there are still spots available for two community COVID-19 testing sites this weekend and early next week in southwest Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is offering the testing along with the Missouri National Guard, local health departments and health care providers in the Joplin area.

Testing will be done Sunday and Monday, July 19 and 20, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ozark Christian College in Joplin and Carthage Memorial Hall in Carthage. It’s free for Missouri residents. 

There were 37 new positive COVID-19 cases in Greene County on Thursday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 646.  Of those, 325 are active.  Forty-eight people have been hospitalized so far with the illness.

And the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is notifying the public of several new possible community exposures to COVID-19 from seven people with the illness. 

Prior to being diagnosed, the individuals went to these locations: 

Three Springfield schools have recently had individuals that are associated with them diagnosed with COVID-19.

An employee at Rountree Elementary tested positive for COVID-19. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has advised that all Rountree Explore students and staff quarantine at home through July 24.  The school is expected to reopen July 27.  Students in Explore at Rountree will continue their studies online.