Beloved children's author and poet, David Harrison, is celebrating the publishing of his 100th book.  KSMU's Michele Skalicky talked with Harrison about his new book, how he got started writing and about the 83-year-old's future writing plans.

You just published your 100th book.  How does that feel?

This week, host Hue Ping Chin speaks with Andrea Bishop, Licensed Professional Counselor and Executive Director of the Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center, a nonprofit United Way affiliate offering mental health services regardless of the client's ability to pay.

UPDATE: Shortly after 9:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, Springfield Police Department spokeswoman Jasmine Bailey told KSMU in an email that the department had "not yet arrested a suspect" in the incident.   

On Friday, Springfield’s two main hospital systems, Mercy and CoxHealth, issued a stark warning to the public:  they’re full, due to a wave of COVID-19 patients, and that’s starting to impact non-COVID patients, too.

At a press conference Friday, health officials said hospitalizations have skyrocketed this week. Hospitals have begun to shuffle dates of elective surgeries to maximze staffing, but the lack of beds and staffing are affecting emergency and acute care, too.

Bass Pro Shops and White River Marine Group are expanding the Tracker Boats plant in Bolivar.  According to the company in a news release, the expansion is expected to add 300 new manufacturing jobs to the region.

The expansion is due to strong demand for the expanded line of Sun Tracker Bass Buggy pontoon models, the company said.

The deadline to apply for Christmas assistance through the Council of Churches of the Ozarks Crosslines Food Pantry is Friday, November 20.

The deadline to apply for Thanksgiving assistance has passed, and the organization said more than 930 families requested help.  They have enough food to distribute for Thanksgiving, but they need donations to be able to meet the needs of those needing help for Christmas.

To apply for assistance, visit ccozarks.org/holiday or call 417-869-0563 from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday.

Mercy is using new methods to reach out to its patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 to ask them to consider becoming plasma donors.

The liquid portion of blood recovered from those patients, known as convalescent plasma, may contain antibodies, according to the Food and Drug Administration.  Those antibodies may help others as they’re fighting the virus.

In this month's episode of Engaging the Community, Missouri State University president Clif Smart tells KSMU's Jennifer Moore that lower COVID-19 casecounts on campus indicate there's not a need to alter how MSU administers its holiday breaks.   

Listen to the episode here:

The 2020 real estate tax statements are now available online for Greene County residents.  And the Greene County collector, Leah Betts, says paper statements will be mailed this month.

You can find the 2020 real estate tax statements at countycollector.com.  Payments are due by December 31.  You can make payment online, by mail or in person at the Greene County Courthouse, 940 N. Boonville.

Update:  MyleeMarie Wallace was found unharmed at 6 Friday morning.  

The Springfield Police Department is looking for a missing 11-year-old girl and is asking for the public’s help in locating her.

MyleeMarie Wallace was last seen about 10:30 Thursday night leaving her home in the 2000 block of S. Ingram Mill.

She is Black, 5’3” tall with brown hair and brown eyes.  She was wearing a gray t-shirt with the word “Champion” on it, black jogging pants and gray Jordan shoes.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he will not issue any new mandates to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Republic School District is stopping in-person learning until at least December 3rd. 

Since November 1st, 35 Republic School employees have tested positive for COVID-19—19 of those in the last three days, according to the district on Wednesday.

Students will move to virtual learning beginning Friday, November 20.

The director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is calling the current situation with COVID-19, “the darkest day of the pandemic.”

At a press briefing Wednesday, Clay Goddard urged everyone with a positive test result to isolate at home for the recommended amount of time.  If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you should quarantine for two weeks, according to Goddard.  Even if you test negative during that time, Goddard said you need to stay home.

Nine more Greene County residents have lost their lives to COVID-19.  The latest deaths, announced Wednesday, are a woman in her 50s, a man in his 60s, two women in their 70s, three men in their 70s and two men in their 80s.

Just this month, 34 Greene County residents have died of COVID-19, and there's been a total of 188 deaths since the pandemic began.

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is urging people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma or CCP to help those currently hospitalized with the virus.

Usage of CCP in area hospitals has skyrocketed over the past few weeks, according to the CBCO in a news release, and there’s now a critical shortage.  There’s been a 337 percent increase in CCP usage between August and October.

Antibodies present in plasma from recently recovered COVID-19 patients has been found to help those who have the virus.

A man in his 80s is the latest Greene County resident to die of COVID-19.  There have been 25 deaths from the illness so far this month, and a total of 179 overall.

As of Tuesday morning, Greene County’s total number of cases was 12,861, and 4,933 were active.

There was a record 204 people hospitalized in Springfield with COVID-19, and 46 of them were in the ICU.  Eighty-one were Greene County residents.

There had been a 13 percent change in reported cases in the last week.

Park Central Square is officially in holiday mode now that the City of Springfield has the official Christmas tree on display there.

At the square November 17, men in hardhats pulled ropes to steady the three story tall spruce tree dangling from a crane, while a worker trimmed off part of the trunk with a chainsaw. The tree was donated by Patrick and Christina Wilkins. 

Kirk Juranas, assistant director of public works says the placing of the Christmas tree in the square has been happening for decades.

The Joplin Health Department will hold a drive thru flu clinic this week for the city’s residents.  Staff will administer 275 vaccines in the Joplin Memorial Hall parking lot Wednesday (11/18) from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until the vaccines are gone.

Vaccinations are only for those 19 or older and are free.  You’ll need to take a photo i.d.  The entrance to the clinic will be in the parking lot entrance on Joplin Street.

The City of Nixa is warning residents of a scam.  A scammer is calling residents, claiming to be Nixa police officer, Kelly Smith, and telling them they have to pay up or be arrested, according to a news release from the city.  The phone number that shows up on a person's caller I.D. is the Nixa Police Department number.

But, city officials said there isn’t a police officer in Nixa named Kelly Smith, and Nixa police would never call citizens and threaten them for nonpayment. 

The General Election results for the county have been verified and certified by the bipartisan Greene County Verification Board, according to county clerk, Shane Schoeller.

In a news release he said, “regardless of whether their candidate prevailed on November 3rd, all Greene County voters can be confident that this election was conducted with the highest integrity and professionalism through the hard work of bipartisan members of this office and bipartisan election judges, and that their voice was heard through the casting of their ballot.”

Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, said it's clear to him that "we are currently in the teeth of the second wave of the (corona)virus."

Goddard told Springfield City Council Monday Greene County has had a reported 2,486 new COVID-19 cases in the first half of November.

"We've nearly reported in this last week what it took us two weeks to report in October," he said.

But. Greene County is doing better than other jurisdictions in Missouri, according to Goddard, and he's encouraged by the recent news about COVID-19 vaccines.

Springfield residents ages 18 and older without health insurance can get a free flu shot on Wednesday, November 18.  

Wednesday’s drive-through flu shot clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Kansas Expressway and Grand Street in the parking lot of a former Price Cutter grocery store.  The address is 1720 West Grand Street.

The Springfield Police Department is offering stickers to those with special needs to improve interactions between officers and the public. 

There are three different stickers:  One for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, one for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and another for those with autism or special needs.  They can be placed on the window of a vehicle or a home.

The number of people hospitalized in Springfield with COVID-19 continues to increase.  There were 200 people in Greene County hospitals as of Monday morning, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s Dashboard.  That's the most at one time since the pandemic began.

Forty-three of those hospitalized in the county were in the ICU, and 78 were Greene County residents.

This week is Winter Weather Preparedness Week, designated by the National Weather Service and the State Emergency Management Agency.

The two organizations want everyone to plan ahead for the upcoming winter, which could bring snow and ice.  Last year, there were 11,117 vehicle crashes in the state in which snow or ice was a factor, according to SEMA.  Those resulted in 3,000 injuries and 58 deaths.

Copyright 2020 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Greene County.  Friday morning, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department reported 249 new cases since yesterday.  And the county topped the 12,000 mark in the number of cases.  As of Friday morning, there were 12,224 reported COVID-19 cases, and 4,539 were active.

There were 177 patients in Springfield hospitals with COVID-19, and 39 were in the ICU.

There’s been a 26 percent increase in cases in Greene County in the last 7 days.

As COVID-19 cases soar across the country, Missouri is seeing high numbers of positive cases, too.

America Recycles Day is Sunday, and the City of Springfield has issued a challen

The director of the Missouri National Education Association is speaking out about new quarantine guidance for schools issued by the State of Missouri this week.

Governor Mike Parson announced Thursday that the state is now advising schools that students who are direct contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals do not have to quarantine as long as all parties were wearing masks.