O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The coronavirus has become so rampant in a small Missouri town that a Baptist pastor is re-closing his church that was shut down for two months earlier in the pandemic. Noel sits in McDonald County in the state's far southwestern corner. When June began, the county had fewer than two dozen COVID-19 cases. Now, it has nearly 500. Many are tied to a Tyson chicken processing plant in Noel, but the county health director says others in the community have also been infected.

Branson residents and members of the Board of Aldermen are speaking out against racism in the town.  That’s after a video of a woman, part of a counterprotest to a Black Lives Matter protest in Branson, went viral.

The woman, draped in a Confederate flag, tells the Black Lives Matter protestors outside Dixie Outfitters that she’ll teach her grandkids “to hate all of you people.”  She then pumps her fist and shouts “KKK belief.”

Branson alderman, Larry Skains, said the video does not represent Branson.

Universities are known for traditions;  and there's a fundraising tradition at Evangel that's been happening since 1964:  the "Colossal Garage Sale" was delayed earlier this year due to the pandemic. The four-day fundraiser is back on and starts June 24.

The Evangel Auxiliary raises money for scholarships and academic projects through the “Colossal Garage Sale," according to the university.  The sale features an antique bed, office supplies, clothes and jewelry, books and CDs, and more. Evangel said it will follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 


This week, 13 national organizations that represent patients with chronic medical conditions voiced their support for Medicaid expansion in Missouri.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding oversight hearings on the Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Top public health officials including Anthony Fauci and CDC director Robert Redfield will testify.

Five people who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in Greene County might have exposed others to the illness before they were diagnosed.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is notifying the public of these potential community exposures:

Absentee ballots will be available starting Tuesday, June 23, in Greene County for eligible voters unable to their regular polling place on August 4. 

Voters may cast an absentee ballot in the Greene County Clerk’s Office, 1126 N. Boonville, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until the day before the election.  Homebound or out-of-town voters may request an absentee ballot by mail, either handwritten or from a fillable form on the Greene County Clerk’s website.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The new committee formed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches to address racism and diversity recommends that high schools and colleges establish required courses on Black history for graduation.

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A rural area of Missouri’s far southwestern corner is seeing a big spike in coronavirus cases, driving a record increase in cases in the state.

Missouri reported 389 new cases on Saturday, but that was topped by the 413 new cases reported Sunday, which is the highest one-day total since the pandemic began. More than half of those new cases came from McDonald County, with 235.

The Missouri Job Center will hold its first Drive Thru Job Fair this week to help job seekers find employment in a pandemic. 

The fair will be held Wednesday, June 24, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Job Center, 2900 E. Sunshine.  Eight employers will be set up under canopy tents to talk to potential employees about job opportunities.

Those who plan to attend need to go online first and fill out employment applications on the companies’ websites.

The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas is holding virtual classes through August for anyone who would like to volunteer with the organization.  The first class is Monday night, June 22, from 7 to 7:30.  The Experience the Mission classes will share information about ways to volunteer with the Red Cross.

Volunteer opportunities are available for anyone 14 and up.  They involve things like helping in a disaster, helping at blood drives and assisting military members and their families.

Volunteers make up more than 90 percent of the workforce at the Red Cross.

The number of COVID-19 cases so far in Missouri has topped 18,000.  As of Sunday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services had recorded 18,003 cases—up 413 from the day before.  That’s the state’s biggest one-day jump in cases since the pandemic began.  The previous biggest jump was Saturday with 389 cases.  There have been 956 deaths from COVID-19 in Missouri.

Barton County saw the biggest seven-day increase.  Seven days ago there were two cases in the county, and Sunday that number was up to 15.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is notifying the public of potential community exposures from two people who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Prior to being diagnosed, they visited:

•    The Walmart Supercenter on E. Independence between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11.  They were not wearing a mask. 

•    Thursday, June 11 they went to Harter House on E. Republic Rd. between 2:00 and 2:20 p.m. while unmasked.

The Taney County Health Department is investigating what it is calling a COVID-19 outbreak at a Branson business.  According to the department, there are multiple positive cases associated with the restaurant, Tequila’s 2.  The cases span three counties.  Public health officials are contacting close contacts of positive cases and asking them to quarantine.  The restaurant voluntarily closed on a temporary basis.

If you visited Tequila’s 2 from June 10 to 16, you’re asked to watch for symptoms, and contact a healthcare provider if any develop.

After not accepting book sale donations for awhile due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friends of the Library will take them for a limited time in July.

The Springfield-Greene County Library is calling it a “donation blitz”—books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, games and other materials may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 6-11 and July 13-18.

They’ll need to be taken to a designated bin on the south edge of the Library Center parking lot, 4653 S. Campbell.

Anyone with large collections or with special circumstances may call (417) 616-0560.

2-Day Spike In Confirmed Cases, Deaths In Missouri

Jun 19, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Missouri rose by 37 on Thursday, the second straight day that the state reported a big increase in fatalities.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 27 deaths on Wednesday from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. The 64 deaths is the most over two consecutive days since the pandemic began.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A statue of Winston Churchill has been temporarily removed from a Missouri museum honoring the famed British wartime prime minister so it can be cleaned and protected from construction.

Starting next week, you’ll be able to register to vote and have absentee ballots notarized at special events held outside six local library branches.

The events are being held by the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri.

After being closed for three months due to the coronavirus, the Park Central and Fair Grove branch libraries will reopen on Monday, June 22.

The libraries will be open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday through August 31, according to the Springfield-Greene County Library District.

Those two branches had been offering only walk-up service after the other libraries reopened in late May.

All returns must be placed into outdoor book drops.  They’ll be quarantined for 72 hours and then returned to shelves.

Missouri State University Libraries has been awarded an $18,000 grant for its Ozark Jubilee Digitization Project.  That’s a collaborative effort between MSU Libraries and the UCLA Film & Television Archive to digitize, describe, transcribe and provide free public access to a series of rare kinescope of the Ozark Jubilee, according to MSU.

The grant comes from the Grammy Museum Grant Program, headquartered in Los Angeles.

Some new scholarships will be available to Ozarks Technical Community College students this fall.

Students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to apply for the OTC Technology Grant.  It provides $500 for education-related technology needs.  Any OTC student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours for the fall 2020 semester is eligible to apply.

This week on “Arts News” I caught up with Emily Frankoski, Director of Joplin’s arts agency Connect2Culture.  Normally, she and I will do a monthly interview we call “Spotlight on Joplin,” but since the pandemic hit, we haven’t talked about how the arts community in Joplin has been getting along.   

Jefferson City, MO (AP) The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Missouri rose by 37 on Thursday, the second straight day that the state reported a big increase in fatalities. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 27 deaths on Wednesday from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. The 64 deaths is the most over two consecutive days since the pandemic began. The state also cited 283 new confirmed cases Thursday and 491 cases over the past two days.

In this month's episode of Engaging the Community, Missouri State University president Clif Smart gives an update on the unvierstiy's efforts to recruit and retain more diverse faculty members. You can hear the interview below:

Several years ago, Smart said the unviersity looked at the ethnic demographics of its faculty and staff and found people of color were significantly underrepresented compared to the overall population of Missouri.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is notifying the public of additional potential community exposures from a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Prior to being diagnosed, the person visited these locations:

A visitor to the Branson area tested positive for COVID-19 after they returned to their home county, according to the Stone and Taney County Health Departments. 

The person went to Panera in Branson on Monday, June 15, without wearing a mask.  And they visited Silver Dollar City June 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. while wearing a mask (the theme park is requiring all visitors and staff to wear face coverings).

An out of state visitor to the area tested positive for COVID-19 after they returned home, according to TCHD.  They visited several locations while wearing a mask.  

A school supply drive for Springfield Public School students looks different this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Things being collected for Ready, Set, Drive! include notebook paper, highlighters, markers and crayons.  But also on this year’s list are disposable face masks, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.

Three of the latest COVID-19 positive individuals in Greene County went out in public while they were infectious.  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says anyone who was at the same locations as the cases is at low risk of contracting COVID-19 but should watch for symptoms.

Before they were diagnosed, they visited these locations on these dates:

We don’t usually think about the ground we walk on; that is, until suddenly it isn’t there anymore. That’s what happened to one Springfield homeowner when a sinkhole opened up on her property recently.

Athena Gideon lives in the Rountree neighborhood in central Springfield. When she left her home on the morning of June 9, she noticed the mailbox by the front porch was missing.