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Missouri Town Of Ferguson Swears In First Black Mayor

Jun 17, 2020

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri town that became synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown has sworn in its first black mayor.

Ella Jones defeated City Council colleague Heather Robinette, who is white, 54% to 46% to win the three-year term in an election on June 2. Term limits prohibited the incumbent, James Knowles III, from seeking a fourth term.

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A second video has emerged that appears to show a police SUV driven by a white suburban St. Louis police officer striking a black suspect and knocking the man to the ground as he screams in pain.

The City of Joplin will stay in Phase 2 of its Recovery and Response Plan.  Joplin City Council made that decision because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city and in Jasper, McDonald and Newton Counties, according to city officials.

Assistant director of the Joplin Public Health Department, Ryan Talken, told council that it’s important to stay the course to help lessen the spread of the virus. 

Joplin City Council voted to move to step 2 of the plan June 1 and planned to review the status June 15. 

More potential community exposures from COVID-19 have been identified in southwest Missouri.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, a person with COVID-19, before being diagnosed, went to IHOP on N. Kansas Expressway Thursday, June 11, from 11 a.m. to noon without a mask.  They went to Longhorn Steakhouse on S. Glenstone from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, without a mask and to Applebee’s that same night from 8 to 10 while wearing a mask.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' attorney general has sued Missouri-based TV pastor Jim Bakker over his promotion of a product falsely touted as a cure for the illness caused by the coronavirus. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed the lawsuit in Arkansas against Bakker and Morningside Church Productions. It comes three months after the state of Missouri filed a similar lawsuit.

The City of Springfield is working to equip all Springfield Police Department officers with body cameras.  City manager, Jason Gage, updated Springfield City Council on the process Monday. 

Gage said the cameras will be funded with so-called “pothole funds.”  Those are 1/4-Cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax funds under “minor neighborhood improvements,” according to Gage.

Individuals and businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic might qualify for help through the City of Springfield.

Springfield City Council passed a bill this week allocating more than $916,000 in Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 funds.  The money is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is part of the CARES Act. 

Here’s the breakdown of the funding that’s available:

A public prairie in western Missouri is now larger, and conservationists hope that will benefit grassland birds.  The Missouri Department of Conservation acquired a 320-acre grassland tract near the Wah’Kon-Tah (wuh-CONE-tuh) Prairie Conservation Area in St. Clair County.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the acquisition filled a gap between existing tracts and will allow them to manage contiguous native grassland on the prairie’s northern boundary.

Jasper County in far southwest Missouri has seen its number of COVID-19 cases quadruple in just 11 days—jumping from 40 confirmed cases on Friday, June 5 to 164 this week, health officials confirm.

KSMU’s Jennifer Moore interviewed the director of the Jasper County Public Health Department, Tony Moehr.  He began by talking about how many of those new cases have required hospitalization so far.

Listen to an excerpt from the interview below:

Missouri Supreme Court Considers Voting During Pandemic

Jun 16, 2020

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Civil rights groups are asking the Missouri Supreme Court to allow all Missourians to vote absentee without a notary because of the coronavirus.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is closely watching a spike in COVID-19 cases in parts of northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri, according to its director, Clay Goddard.

He told Springfield City Council Monday night he believes the cases are largely tied to poultry processing plants.  The Jasper County Health Department Monday announced 39 new cases and said they’re actively monitoring 349 contacts of those cases.

Goddard worries those cases could impact Greene County since many local COVID-19 cases are travel related.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is warning the public of potential community exposures from three COVID-19 positive individuals. 

Before they were diagnosed, two of them visited IHOP, 3804 S. Glenstone, around noon on June 5 while symptomatic and not wearing masks.

And on June 6 COVID-19 positive individuals went to the Walmart Supercenter in Republic between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. They were symptomatic and unmasked.

Anyone at those locations at those times should watch for symptoms.

An audit of the City of Forsyth is underway by the Missouri State Auditor’s office.

According to Nicole Galloway, the Forsyth Board of Aldermen passed a city ordinance requesting the audit after an investigation by the Taney County Sheriff’s Department and the State Auditor’s Office.

Service disconnections for nonpayment will start back up on July 7, according to City Utilities.

But CU officials say customers who have experienced financial difficulty recently can contact customer service to discuss payment arrangement plans.  The number is (417) 863-9000.  Payments can be made at cityutilities.net.  No payments will be accepted by phone, according to CU, "due to increased fraudulent calls to customers."

A new report released by the Missouri Foundation for Health shows that expanding the Medicaid program in Missouri would boost the state’s economy, not hurt it.

The Medicaid expansion issue will be on the ballot August 4 – and if Missourians choose “yes,” then many more people would be eligible for government-paid health care.

 

A Springfield counselor is asking for donations to bring books by Black authors to classrooms across the state.

 

As Missouri lifts restrictions on public gatherings, churches face a choice to hold in-person services or keep them online. One Springfield church is trying a creative compromise.

 

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri hospitals would be required to provide sexual assault exams whenever needed under a bill that Gov. Mike Parson is considering signing into law.

Greene County Public Officials Celebrate Flag Day

Jun 15, 2020

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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says three of the latest cases went to public places while sick.

Individuals who tested positive for the illness went to the Kearney Street Café on W. Kearney June 4 around lunchtime for about 20 minutes while infectious and weren’t wearing masks.

A person with COVID-19 was at Cedars West on West Bypass June 5 around 11:30 p.m. for about an hour and a half.  They were infectious and not masked.

And two people with the illness were at Cedars West around 4 p.m. June 6 for about 20 minutes.

The Taney County Health Department says there have been nine new cases of COVID-19 in the county since Friday.  That brings the total so far to 24 cases.  According to the department, four of the latest cases are considered to be community spread.  One is a close contact of a previous confirmed case.  The rest are undetermined but are not linked to previous cases.

  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says community members were potentially exposed to COVID-19 when a coronavirus-infected person worked at the McDonald's restaurant at 2811 N.

Springfield officials announced Friday a new order that further lifts restrictions on businesses and community gatherings as part of the city's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes the same week health officials in northwest Arkansas and in the southwest Missouri counties of Newton, Jasper and McDonald Counties are reporting a concerning uptick in COVID-19 cases.  

Missouri Officials Criticize Police Chief For Denying Racism

Jun 12, 2020

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri police chief received backlash from several county officials after denying the existence of systematic racism in the local police department.

Mahomes, Mathieu Leading Chiefs In Voter Registration Drive

Jun 12, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes and Tyrann Mathieu, are putting together a voter registration program in response to the social unrest that has gripped the nation.

The Missouri State Fair will go on this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

A message on the fair’s website states that the event, August 13-23 in Sedalia, will look different this year.  Livestock shows will continue, but details for vendors, sponsors and other partners are still being determined, according to the statement.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is warning of some more potential public exposures to COVID-19 from two positive individuals from the same family group.

According to the health department, one family member who was infectious and not masked went to the Walmart Supercenter in Republic Sunday, June 7, around 6 p.m.

On Monday, June 8, both positive cases went to the Walgreens in Republic around 3 p.m. One wore a mask and one didn’t.

Also on Monday, the two went to Price Cutter in Republic around 4:30 p.m. without wearing masks.

Mercy is now allowing patients at its area hospitals to have one visitor each.

Those visitors will have their temperature taken and must answer COVID-19 related questions.  They should take a mask and wear it while inside Mercy facilities.

The chancellor of Missouri State University-West Plains is stepping down.  According to the university, Shirley Lawler made the decision due to health issues.

Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs, has been named interim chancellor.  Lancaster has served in a variety of teaching and administrative roles at MSU-West Plains for 30 years.

The Greene County Commission has appointed Lyle Foster as the county’s CARES Act Relief Fund administrator.

He will be responsible for establishing the grant application processes as well as the review and grading procedures that will help the commission allocate $34 million in coronavirus relief funds.

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