On the eve of Thanksgiving this year, it was rainy and cold in Springfield. But the two emergency cold weather shelters didn’t open that night, based on when and how long the National Weather Service predicted the temperature would hover around freezing.  

So a tiny outreach team, led by a local pastor and her band of volunteers, went to work like a well-oiled machine.

CoxHealth plans to expand its COVID-19 ICU unit by 33 beds.  The unit, on the fifth floor of Cox South in Springfield, cares for the sickest of the COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized at CoxHealth.

Cox CEO Steve Edwards said in a news release he hopes they won’t need to use the extra beds, but they want to be ready in case they do.

This week, host Debbie Good speaks with Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams.

Today’s discussion explores the impact of COVID-19 regarding department operations.   Chief Williams addresses safety, the masking ordinance, impact on public engagement events, and additional adaptations made by the department.

Springfield Conservation Nature Center trails will be closed December 12 through 14 for a managed archery deer hunt.

The hunt is one component of a citywide strategy to manage Springfield’s urban deer population, according to MDC in a news release.  Managed hunts are also allowed under a city ordinance, approved in 2014, at Lake Springfield and Fellows Lake. 

MDC officials say the managed hunts help keep the deer population at a level that's safe for humans and healthy for deer.

We begin our series, Unsheltered, at a church—the East Sunshine Church of Christ in Springfield—on a recent Monday evening just as a city bus is pulling up. 

Out file about two dozen men, most carrying backpacks or blankets or a rolling a suitcase. A second bus will follow a few minutes later.

It’s half past seven o’clock and the temperature is quickly dropping to its projected low of 22 degrees.  And just like that, this church is transforming into an emergency cold weather shelter for the homeless. 

The beloved American holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life," the story of idealistic George Bailey who learns that his life really has positively impacted everyone around him, comes to life as a “live” 1940s radio broadcast in Springfield Little Theatre's holiday production. It through December 13 at the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut, with limited seating availability, and as an online stream.  Jamie Bower, who directed the production, joined us on KSMU’s “Arts News.”                                                                            

A seven-year-old boy from Rogersville, Missouri will take center stage this weekend on a billboard in Times Square.

Paxton Uchtman couldn't care less about superheroes or video games, but he's obsessed with farming and  his toy farm animals. And that creativity helped him win a national video contest hosted by the iconic toy company Schleich, which is known for its animal figurines.

Uchtman talked to KSMU's Jennifer Moore Friday by phone about the contest and his toys.

For the one of the only times—in fact, possibly the only time—since everything shut down due to COVID-19 last March, we had two different guests in the studio with us for “Arts News” this week. One of our guests was Lindsey Robison, President of Messiah Project.                                                                           

Springfield Environmental Services is asking area residents to help them meet a recycling challenge.  The department wants to see 100 tons of paper recycled at the city’s drop off sites between November 15 and December 17.  And, so far, 51.5 tons of paper has been recycled.

More than 85 tons is collected per month, on average, at the city’s recycling centers.

Wrapping paper can be recycled as long as it doesn’t contain foil or glitter.  You can also recycle things like tissue paper, paper towel and toilet paper tubes and food boxes.

A new executive conference center at Drury University will be named for a longtime employee.

Two Drury benefactors, John and Crystal Beuerlein, surprised Judy Thompson with the news on Thursday.

Thompson graduated from Drury in 1961 and taught high school before taking the job of director of alumni relations at Drury in 1974.  She was put in charge of development in 1976 and, in 1979, became the first woman to be Drury vice president.  She retired in 2002 but returned as vice president in 2016. 

Four more Taney County residents have died of COVID-19.  They were a woman in her 60s, a man and woman in their 70s and a man in his 80s, according to the Taney County Health Department.

There have been 38 Taney County residents who have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

TCHD director, Lisa Marshall, said in a news release that prevention is extremely important as we head into winter and the holiday season.

In this episode of These Ozarks Hills, longtime storyteller Marideth Sisco reflects on how the human psyche deals with catastrophe, bringing in parallels between the 2020 pandemic a major earthquake that occurred decades earlier. 

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Update:  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has released more information about the latest deaths of Greene County residents from COVID-19.  They were a man in his 40s, a man and woman in their 60s, four woman and three men in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s and two women in their 90s.

Original story:  Seventeen more Greene County lives have been lost to COVID-19.  That's the highest one-day total to date.

Mercy will begin offering virtual COVID-19 care at home to help meet the demand for hospital beds as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Mercy COVID Care @ Home will offer remote, in-home care for patients with mild symptoms or who may need low-flow rates of oxygen, according to the healthcare system.  The 24-hour care will include measurement of oxygen saturation and adjusting oxygen flow as necessary.

Three more Greene County residents have died of COVID-19. According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, they were a man in his 60s, a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 90s.  So far, 199 Greene County residents have died of COVID-19.

As of Wednesday morning, the county had a total of 15,490 reported COVID-19 cases, and 3,728 were active.  There were 228 in Springfield hospitals with the illness, and 63 were in critical care.  One hundred and four were from Greene County.

The Greene County Commission has approved funding for 80 CARES Act Relief Fund applications.  The recent awards total just over $544,000, and all went to small businesses in the county.

To date, the commission has approved $27,962,232.17.  That’s 79 percent of the funds that were made available to Greene County to be distributed locally. 

You can see who has received CARES Act money so far by going to greenecountymo.gov.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is hosting the 14th annual Corporal John A. “Jay” Sampietro Jr. Toy Drive through December 20th.

The drive is held each year in remembrance of Sampietro who died in the line of duty in 2005.

Toys that are collected will be given to children who are in the hospital.

You’re asked to donate new, packaged toys such as coloring and activity books, board games, Legos, DVDs, handheld electronic games, art supplies and toys for infants.

Greene County continues to break records for the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19.  As of Tuesday morning, there were 237 people in Springfield hospitals, and 57 of them were in critical care.  One hundred and seven of those hospitalized were from Greene County.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Greene County increased by 214 on Tuesday.  There was a total of 15,325 cases, and 3,642 were active.  There have been 196 deaths from COVID-19 in the county.

A coalition representing over 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities is urging governors to give priority to long term care facilities in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living issued a statement this week asking governors to prioritize residents and staff of long-term care facilities when considering who should be included in the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

In this week's episode of STEM Spots on KSMU, host Dr. David Cornelison reflects on Thanksgiving, with a special look at the reasons to be grateful for science. 

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

A free COVID-19 community testing event will be held Thursday, December 3, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, December 4, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield.  Another testing event will be held Saturday, December 5, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ozark Christian College in Joplin.  And a community testing event will take place Monday, December 7, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Marshfield. The testing is being held by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Missouri National Guard.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living are reporting the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in nursing homes since the spring—and just under half of the new cases are in the Midwest.

The Springfield-Greene County Health department is offering tips to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 during athletic events and organized activities.

The guidance can be found at health.springfieldmo.gov/playsafely.  It provides information on how to safely engage in sports as teams and organizations transition into the winter months and indoor play, according to the City of Springfield in a news release.  “

A survey of area businesses has been launched by the Missouri Job Center. 

The seventh annual Momentum State of the Workforce Survey allows the Job Center to assess needs and identify issues and challenges facing the workforce in the seven-county Ozark Region.

Sally Payne, interim director of Workforce Development for the City of Springfield, said in a news release that this year it’s even more important to hear from businesses as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports 10 people died on the state’s roadways over the Thanksgiving holiday period, which ran from 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 25, to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 29.

Greene County has topped 15,000 in the number of reported cases of COVID-19.  As of Monday morning, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s Dashboard had the total number of cases at 15,111.  Of those, 3,565 were active. 

The number of hospitalized patients in Springfield hit an all-time high at 228, and 58 were in critical care.  Less than half of those hospitalized were from Greene County.  The total number of Greene County residents hospitalized Monday was 109.

This week, host Lisa Langley speaks with Tim Rosenbury, director of the Quality of Place Initiative with the City of Springfield.

Today’s discussion talks about the concept of “place making” with a focus on the proposed Grant Avenue Parkway project.

As of Monday, November 30, Springfield Public Schools are following modified quarantine guidance issued by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

The guidance, for grades K-12, is a follow up to guidance issued recently by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to a news release from SPS.

Indoor spaces at Missouri State Parks are closed.

The Department of Natural Resources made the decision last week to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The closures include visitor centers, nature centers, museums and offices.  Park and historic site outdoor spaces and amenities remain open during normal hours.  You can still stay in lodging at state parks, including at campgrounds, and boat ramps and trails are open.

Before you head to a state park in Missouri, you can find out what’s open at mostateparks.com.

In this week's episode of STEM Spots, host Dr. David Cornelison talks with Dr. Kevin Mickus, a professor of geology at Missouri State University, about gravity and how it can help us learn about the earth.

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.