We’re less than a week before a historic presidential election, one that coincides with a pandemic.

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller said he expects about triple the number of people who voted by absentee in 2016 to cast their ballots this year by mail or by absentee.    

KSMU’s Jennifer Moore interviewed Schoeller this week to get an update on new procedures and safety concerns.

Hear the interview below:

As we approach Election Day, voters who have not yet sent in their mail-in ballots may now be worried their ballots won’t make it back in time to be counted. This is what they can do to esnure their vote is counted.

First, a reminder:  this year, there are three ways Missouri voters can cast their ballots:   absentee, mail-in, or voting in person on Election Day.   Mail-in and absentee ballots are not the same thing.

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is being offered in several cities in Missouri, including Joplin, Aurora and Branson.  The tests will be administered in Joplin Wednesday, October 28, Friday, October 30, and Monday, November 2, from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Walmart on 7th Street.  Tests will be offered in Aurora Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, October 27-29, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Price Cutter Pharmacy and in Branson Tuesday, October 27, Tuesday, November 3, and Tuesday, November 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at CoxHealth, 121 Cahill Rd.

Update:   Last night’s Listening Session that was to be hosted by the City of Springfield was canceled due to low response.  There were only two people signed up to speak.

Two more sessions are planned for November 9th and 23rd from 6 to 8 p.m. at Drury’s Wilhoit Theatre.  Those sessions will be livestreamed on Facebook and on the City of Springfield’s website.

According to city officials, the listening sessions are being held so citizens have a chance to address City Council on the topics of crime, race relations and race relations and policing.

Some people who haven’t been able to give blood in the past or those who have been deferred from giving blood will be impacted by new FDA rules.

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks has adopted new federal guidelines that will allow for the re-entry of thousands of people to the donor pool who were previously deferred, according to a news release.

The updated FDA guidance changes the period of deferral from 12 months to three months in several donor categories. 

Those include:

Making Democracy Work continues to focus on voter education and information for the upcoming General Election next week.

This week, host Debbie Good speaks with guests Ann Elwell, former president of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri, and Crista Hogan, executive director of Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association.

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

An employee of Missouri State University has died after contracting COVID-19.

MSU President Clif Smart sent a statement to university employees Friday saying Jason Rhea, assistant director of facilities management, grounds, died last night at Cox South.  He had been hospitalized with COVID-19 since October 10.  Rhea was exposed to the virus off campus and had quarantined before testing positive.

The Greene County Commission has approved CARES Act funding for 43 additional small businesses.  The grants, approved Thursday, total $380,000. 

So far, the commission has approved $25,517,727.40 of the $34.4 million in CARES Act Relief Money allotted for Greene County.

Applications for the grants are reviewed by subcommittees of the CARES Act Citizens Advisory Committee.  The 30-member volunteer group votes on the subcommittee recommendations and then they’re passed to the Greene County Commission for final approval.

Here's who received the latest grant money:

A woman in her 70s is the latest Greene County resident to die of COVID-19.  That death brings the number of deaths from the illness in the county in October to 54.  A total of 131 Greene County residents has died of COVID-19.

As of Thursday morning, there were 9,213 COVID-19 cases in the county, and 3,067 of those were active.  181 people were hospitalized in Springfield with the illness.  Thirty of them were in the ICU, and 72 were from Greene County.

Three cheetah cubs at Dickerson Park Zoo are being hand raised by zoo staff.  The babies, two boys and a girl, were delivered October 1 by cesarean section when they were past due and their mom wasn’t showing any signs of going into labor.

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.


Lin Waterhouse, an author living in West Plains, knew it wasn't a good sign that her husband's nursing home was calling her.

“In their e-mail, they would tell us that anyone with a [COVID-19] positive loved one would be contacted by phone,” Waterhouse said.

Her husband, Dave, was asymptomatic. But since nursing homes are doing more universal testing, a nasal swab had caught traces of the coronavirus in his nasal passageways. He was eventually moved into a COVID corridor.

Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the rural Mercy St. Francis hospital in Mountain View, Missouri does not admit COVID-19 patients. A spokeswoman for Mercy, Sonya Kullman, said the hospital does admit COVID-19 patients. Our story has been edited to reflect that change.

Earlier this month, Misty Traver of Willow Springs, Missouri, heard a sound she won't likely forget. Her husband of nearly 25 years, who had tested positive for COVID-19, was dry heaving.

Four more Greene County residents have died of COVID-19.  The latest deaths were a woman in her 60s, a man in his 70s, a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 90s.

Fifty-one Greene County residents have died of the illness so far this month, and there have been 128 deaths since the pandemic began.

In a news release, the director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Clay Goddard said lives depend on everyone wearing masks, washing their hands and maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others.

Greene County has lost 128 residents to COVID-19.  And the Springfield-Greene County Health Department has created a COVID-19 Living Memorial to remember them and those who might die from the illness in the future.

Assistant director of health, Katie Towns, says they hope the memorial lets families know they aren’t alone and that the community is here for them.

It will be updated regularly with photos and memories of those who have died of COVID-19.  Families of those who die can share what they want the community to remember about their loved ones.

Three more Greene County, Missouri residents have died of COVID-19.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department reported the deaths on Monday.  They were a man in his 50s with no underlying health conditions; a woman in her 40s and a man in his 70s.

There have been 47 deaths from COVID-19 reported by the health department in October and a total of 124 since the pandemic began.

Monday morning the health department reported 8,963 cases, and 3,155 of those were active.  There were 181 people hospitalized in Springfield with the illness, and 28 were in the ICU.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, October, 21, masks will be required in both Nixa and Ozark.  The leaders of both cities Tuesday issued orders requiring masks when people are not able to maintain at least a six foot distance from others anywhere except for their primary residence.

The deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot or a no-excuse mail-in ballot is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21.  In-person absentee voting, for those who fall into one of seven categories, will continue through Monday, November 2.

Following the death of George Floyd and other Black citizens across the country at the hands of police officers, the local NAACP issued demands to the City of Springfield.  They include:  Banning vascular neck restraints/choke holds or any form of neck restraints; reducing the traffic stop disparity index; and making reforms to the Police Civilian Review Board.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri’s first licensed marijuana dispensaries opened this weekend in the St. Louis area with long lines. Two dispensaries run by N’Bliss opened Saturday in Ellisville and Manchester. Another dispensary is expected to open Monday in the Kansas City area. The openings come nearly two years after Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana sales. The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services expects most of the state’s 192 approved dispensaries to be open by the end of the year.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri continued to report record numbers of coronavirus cases over the weekend and the rate of positive cases remains high across the state. On Saturday, the state reported a record 2,357 new cases of COVID-19. Sunday’s increase of 1,768 cases reported on the state's online virus tracker was smaller but still substantial. The state now has 156,696 cases of the virus and 2,582 deaths since the pandemic began. The state said the positivity rate for coronavirus tests over the last seven days is 19.7%, and six counties reported rates above 50%. Gov.

The Missouri Job Center Ozark Region and the American Legion Goad-Ballinger Post 69 will host the Veterans Job Fair Thursday, October 22.  It will be a drive-through event to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot between American Legion Post 69, 149 Memorial Plaza, and Jordan Valley Ice Park, 635 E. Trafficway, in downtown Springfield.

Springfield’s mayor, Ken McClure has been awarded the 2020 Government Excellence Award by the Missouri State University Board of Governors.

McClure has advocated for and continues to advocate for the university and the city, according to MSU officials in a news release.

They said he has provided leadership during the pandemic to protect Springfield residents.  City Council passed a masking ordinance as well as facility occupancy and gathering restrictions.

MSU’s president and administrative council recommend recipients for the award.   

The Taney County Health Department and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will hold a flu shot clinic this week in Branson for anyone 18 and over.

The clinic will be held Tuesday, October 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Branson Neurology and Pain Center, 121 Cahill Road.

You don’t need to make an appointment.  Vaccines will be given on a first come, first serve basis.  Masks are required, and you should stay home if you’re sick, according to TCHD.

The Springfield Public Schools Board of Education will interview superintendent search firms Monday night, October 19, as members begin the process of finding a replacement for the current SPS superintendent.

The firms in the running to help find a replacement for Dr. John Jungmann are GR Recruiting; Hazard, Young, Attea Associates; and Ray and Associates, Inc.

Greene County Clerk Discusses Early Voting Options

Oct 19, 2020

Making Democracy Work continues the focus on voter education and information looking ahead to the upcoming General Election November 3rd.

This week, host Lisa Langley speaks with Greene County Clerk, Shane Schoeller.

Today’s discussion explores the differences between mail-in and absentee ballots, and overviews important information for voting procedures.  The deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot is this Wednesday, October 21st.