Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he plans to vote in next week’s local elections, if at all possible, but he doesn’t yet know if he’ll go in person or cast an absentee ballot.

When asked by House Minority Leader, Crystal Quade, during Thursday’s press briefing if he had a message for voters who are thinking about going to the polls next Tuesday, Parson said local officials are working to make polling places safe. 

Protests continue in Minneapolis and across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minnesota.  Floyd died after a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck.

Springfield Public Schools will offer both in-person and virtual summer school options for elementary and middle school students starting in July and also a combination of the two.  High school students will have only online options for the entire summer.  

SPS is offering only online options for all students during the first part of Explore, June 3 through June 30.  The second session will run July 6 through 31. 

In-person absentee voting hours will be available Saturday, May 30, in Greene County for those who are unable to go to their regular polling place Tuesday, June 2. 

Hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 1126 N. Boonville in Springfield.  Absentee voting hours Monday will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the same location.

You’ll be able to stay overnight again at the Buffalo National River.  Park officials say they’ll resume overnight access to the park starting Friday, May 29.

Public access will be available to campgrounds and backcountry camping, RV dump stations, group campsites and pavilions with a maximum of 50 people.  Buffalo Point cabin rentals will resume June 1.

Park employees will staff trailheads and river access points to provide traffic control and social distancing guidelines.

Convoy of Hope continues working to provide food for those who are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Michele Skalicky interviewed the nonprofit's national spokesman, Jeff Nene, about their national and international effort.

Convoy of Hope has been on the front lines throughout the pandemic--you were there from the beginning helping those who need food assistance.  What services are you offering?

More outdoor dining options could open up in Springfield in the coming days.

Springfield City Council is expected to vote Monday night on two emergency bills.  They would ease requirements for outdoor dining spaces during the economic recovery period from COVID-19.

One bill would suspend enforcement of the parking ratios for restaurants.  That would allow the use of restaurant parking lots as outdoor dining spaces during the mayor’s declaration of civil emergency.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Greene County.  And late Thursday, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced six new confirmed cases.  Health officials said those cases are being investigated. 

The six were not clients of the Great Clips on S. Glenstone where two hair stylists with COVID-19 worked while symptomatic.  According to the health department, test results from 42 clients are back and all are negative.  Tests were offered to all 140 clients who had been in direct contact with the stylists.  Both the stylists and their clients wore masks.

Second Lawsuit Filed Against Missouri Medicaid Expansion

May 28, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A second lawsuit has been filed against a ballot proposal to expand Medicaid health care eligibility to thousands more low-income adults.

Costco Wholesale Corporation is considering a membership warehouse retail store in east Springfield, according to Springfield mayor, Ken McClure. 

A statement from the City of Springfield said Costco expects to hire at least 125 people for its Springfield store. 

Missouri Governor Mike Parson spoke with KSMU's Jennifer Moore this week about the coronavirus pandemic in Missouri.

Listen to the interview here and find a summary below.

Q:  Other than closing doors to visitors, what is the state doing to protect the elderly in long-term care facilities?

The City of Branson is taking applications for a number of board and committee vacancies.

Openings are available on the Advisory Park Board, Board of Adjustment, Board of Appeals, Budget and Finance Committee, Capital Improvement Committee, Human Resources Committee and the Planning Commission.

The deadline to apply is June 19 at 4:30 p.m.

More information is at bransonmo.gov or at the Branson City Clerk’s Office, 110 W. Maddux in Branson.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is warning the public about a potential exposure from a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

The individual visited the Walmart Supercenter at 3520 W. Sunshine on Monday, May 18 from 5 to 6 p.m. before they were diagnosed.  They weren’t showing symptoms, but they were believed to be within the time frame of being potentially infectious, according to the health department.  The person was not wearing a face covering. 

Anyone at that location at that time is at low risk for contracting the illness but should monitor for symptoms.

The History Museum on the Square will reopen Thursday, May 28, with limited hours and days.

The museum's hours will be Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Steps are being taken to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, according to museum staff.  They include deep cleaning each morning, scheduled cleanings throughout the day, required wearing of masks by staff and social distancing stickers to encourage the practice.  Guests are encouraged to wear masks.

Blood reserves are below one-day levels for all blood types, according to the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks.  The CBCO is the only supplier of blood and plasma products for area hospitals.

The supplies are low because of increased usage and blood drive cancelations, the CBCO said.  Most drives in April and May were canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than 6500 donations were lost.

CBCO executive director, Anthony Roberts, said in a news release that they came out of the Memorial Day weekend "in dire need of help" from donors.

Lake Of The Ozarks Business Owner Defends Actions

May 27, 2020

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The owner of a business that hosted crowded pool parties over the Memorial Day weekend at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks says no laws were broken and safety measures were in place to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

Hundreds of workers at Mercy Springfield are being laid off or furloughed. 

In a letter to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, Springfield mayor, Ken McClure, and Greene County Commissioner, Bob Dixon, Mercy said 696 employees will be affected by the decision.

The letter states that the action is due to "the unforeseeable, dramatic downturn in business caused by the coronavirus natural disaster."

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department continues urging everyone to social distance, wear masks in public, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick and seek testing if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Assistant health department director, Jon Mooney, told Springfield City Council Tuesday there were 125 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning and 20 probable cases--for a total of 145.  Thirty-six of those cases are active.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office says it continues to look into the escape of two county inmates on Monday evening. 

Inmates, Nathan Sneed and Jacob Atkinson, were out having recreation time, when they escaped through small gaps in the fencing.  They were being housed in the temporary jail.

Atkinson was taken into custody just minutes after his escape with the help of the Springfield Police Department.  Sneed was located by the Greene County Fugitive Apprehension Unit on the roof of an outbuilding in the 700 block of E. Lynn five hours after his escape.

The Navajo Nation encompasses three states:  Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.  Approximately 356,000 people call the American Indian territory home.  To date, more than 4600 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.  That’s one of the highest per capita rates in the country.  At least 153 residents of the Navajo Nation have died from the illness.

River Bluff Fellowship church won’t be able to send a full mission team there this year, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still working to meet the reservation’s needs. 

States Give Few Details On Billions Spent On Virus Supplies

May 25, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — U.S. states are spending billions of dollars buying protective medical supplies amid the coronavirus crisis, but many aren’t sharing details.

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s health director has issued a dire warning after photos and video showed Memorial Day weekend revelers partying close together: The coronavirus is still here, and the spreading of illnesses could have “long-lasting and tragic” results.

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s health director has issued a dire warning after photos and video showed Memorial Day weekend revelers partying close together: The coronavirus is still here, and the spreading of illnesses could have “long-lasting and tragic” results.

Coronavirus Changes Memorial Day Celebrations In Missouri

May 25, 2020

ST. LOUIS (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) — Before Memorial Day, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis County is typically full of Boy Scouts planting flags. The coronavirus ended that tradition this year.

Volunteers stepped in to lay flags to honor the thousands of veterans at the cemetery. The effort to slow the virus's spread has changed typical Memorial Day ceremonies in Missouri and elsewhere.

A second hair stylist from Great Clips salon at 1864 South Glenstone Avenue in Springfield has tested positive for COVID-19, health officials announced Saturday.  This case involves 56 clients who were “potentially directly exposed” to the coronavirus as a result of the stylist’s condition, according to a news release from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Health officials plan to notify those clients potentially impacted and those individuals will be offered testing for the coronavirus.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri’s unemployment rate more than doubled last month due to the shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

A hair stylist at Great Clips, 1864 S. Glenstone, in Springfield, worked while sick recently, exposing 84 clients and seven co-workers to COVID-19, according to local health officials.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said the person worked on these dates:

The Missouri Job Center plans to reopen to the public Thursday, May 26.  The reopening comes at a time when many people are looking for work, and businesses are opening back up, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 568,000 Missourians had filed for unemployment as of May 16, according to the Missouri Department of Labor.

Heavy Rain Causes Flash Flooding In Springfield

May 22, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KYTV-TV) — Heavy rain has caused flash flooding in southwestern Missouri, and parts of the state are bracing for potentially severe weather.

KYTV reports that nearly 4 inches of rain fell Thursday and into Friday morning in Springfield, flooding several roadways. A car and an SUV became stuck in about 2 1/2 feet of water on Chestnut Expressway, but no one was hurt.

Increased Missouri Virus Testing To Focus On Nursing Homes

May 22, 2020

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's governor says a plan to increase coronavirus testing will focus on nursing homes, prisons and widespread testing for anyone who wants it in certain counties.