Friday, September 17, 2021

Jasper, Newton County health care organizations plan regional assessment

(From the Jasper and Newton Counties Community Health Collaborative)

A variety of health care organizations have come together to better understand the health status, behaviors and needs of the populations they serve. The Jasper and Newton Counties Community Health Collaborative, working with partners across the region, issued a Regional Health Assessment in 2019 to evaluate the health of our community and set a shared vision for action.

This group is now looking to update that assessment for 2022 and need your help.

Partners involved with this effort are asking for public feedback on local healthcare needs and experiences in the survey linked below.






 

Questions are simple and are available in English and Spanish.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OHCCHNA2021

The group aims to use this systematic, data-driven assessment to inform decisions and guide efforts to improve community health and wellness.

Local Partners leading the work include Freeman Health System, Jasper County Health Department, Joplin Health Department, and Mercy Hospital Joplin. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has been instrumental in the organization of the project.

The resulting Regional Health Assessment will allow decision-makers to have a more holistic and up-to-date picture with which to strategically address community health concerns.

For more information, contact: Ryan Talken, Director—Joplin City Health Department at (417) 623-6122 or Tony Moehr, Administrator—Jasper County Health Department at (417) 358-0480.

Billy Long: We need to keep standing up for life


(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Life begins at conception. This is not an opinion but a biological fact. 

We know that a heartbeat can be detected at 6 weeks as a fetus develops in the womb. Not long after that, the fetus can feel pain. 

State legislatures across the country have been trying for years to protect the innocent unborn at the earliest stages possible by passing bills banning abortion after a heartbeat can be detected. Until recently, these laws have been struck down by the courts, but that all changed a few weeks ago.








On May 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act, into law. Like many before it, this law bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, but there is one major change from the others. While other bills have allowed a state to criminally charge defendants who perform illegal abortions, this one leaves it to the public at large. SB 8 set up civil enforcement for the law, meaning that anyone can file a lawsuit against abortion providers for performing an abortion after the heartbeat is detected. A successful lawsuit could force the provider to pay $10,000 for each violation.

On September 1, 2021, the United States Supreme Court refused to strike down the law and allowed it to go into effect. The Court’s decision was based on the change in enforcement. While the ruling is encouraging, this isn’t the last time we will hear about this issue in the high court. In an unprecedented politicization of the Department of Justice, Attorney General Merrick Garland has promised to take legal action against the state of Texas.

Lawsuits against the Texas Heartbeat Act and other pro-life bills aren’t the only things Democrats are doing to attack the unborn. Their $3.5 trillion spending package contains an array of pro-abortion provisions. Their spending package mandates that insurance companies in the Obamacare exchanges provide abortion coverage to individuals and families. This means that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers would be reimbursed for some abortion procedures. Additionally, the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from going to abortion providers, is non-existent in their spending bill, which means taxpayer funds will be used for abortion-related services. The Hyde Amendment has been bipartisan policy for over 40 years. To show just how radical this change is, all but two House Democrats voted in favor of last year’s funding bill that included the Hyde Amendment. Now, Republicans are labeled as radicals for wanting to maintain Hyde Amendment protections.

While the ruling on the Texas Heartbeat Act is a small victory, the unborn continue to be attacked by Democrats and far-left radicals. We are working in Congress to slow down the progress of the Democrat’s reckless spending bill, restore the Hyde Amendment, and remove anti-life provisions that have been inserted by Democrat members of Congress.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Christian County reports four COVID-19 deaths, 116 pediatric cases this week


(From the Christian County Health Department)

The Christian County Health Department is sad to report 4 new COVID-19 related deaths in the county.

The first was a 69-year-old Caucasian male, unvaccinated with underlying health conditions, the second was a 44-year-old Hispanic male, unvaccinated, with no underlying health conditions, the third was an 84-year-old Caucasian female, unvaccinated, with underlying health conditions and the fourth was an 80-year-old Caucasian male, unvaccinated, with underlying health conditions. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family we have lost. 








We strongly encourage those of you in the community who have not yet been vaccinated to please consider getting your COVID-19 vaccine. 

Statistics show that those who have been vaccinated are 3.5 times less likely to get the virus, 8 times less likely to get sick, and 25 times less likely to die from COVID-19. The Christian County Health Department continues to offer Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:45 AM – 4:15 PM.
 
Total Cases: 9,672
Increase since September 9, 2021: 439
• Approximate # of breakthrough cases: 48 out of 439 (11%)
• Of the 439 new cases this week:
o Pediatric Cases – 116 (26%)
o Caucasian – 233 (53%)
o African American – 101 (23%)
o Other – 19 (4%)
o Unknown – 86 (20%)
Active Cases: 726
Ages 0-21: 241
Ages 22-59: 395
Ages 60-84: 85
Ages 85+: 5
Recovered Cases: 8,828
Deaths: 118
Total Vaccines Given: 29,070
Moderna 1st Dose: 14,649
Moderna 2nd Dose: 13,346
Moderna 3rd Dose: 58
Johnson & Johnson: 892
Pfizer: 125

Former Neosho teacher: I hope my story leads to systemic changes everywhere


The controversy surrounding John Wallis' resignation as a speech and drama teacher at Neosho Junior High School continued today with Wallis stoking the fire in an op-ed column in Wednesday's Kansas City Star.

 Wallis resigned less than a month into his contract to teach in the Neosho R-5 School District for the 2021-2022 school year after district officials ordered him not to talk about his sexual orientation during his classes.

In a column titled "The Missouri school district where I used to teach targeted me simply for being gay," Wallis wrote about his departure from his teaching job.






 

Never did I imagine this would be the way things would end with the Neosho School District. I spent my entire life attending the various schools in the district and graduated from there in 2017. Since my junior year of high school, I had vowed to return and teach in the community that I had grown to love. Sure, we have our strong disagreements on a variety of issues, but I didn’t think a classroom of acceptance for all students would become the issue that would lead to my departure.

Wallis said his treatment by district officials had "left an emotional and mental scar on me," and " I can only hope that my story encourages others to share their experiences and that it leads to systemic changes everywhere."


Agenda posted for Carthage R-9 Board of Education meeting

 







































Joplin reports three COVID-19 deaths, including 22-year-old male


(From the Joplin Health Department)

The Joplin Health Department is sad to report the deaths of three Joplin residents with coronavirus being a significant condition contributing to the death. This announcement brings the total count to 168 deaths in Joplin. The residents who passed include two males, ages 72 and 22; and one female, 59 years of age.

City statistics are listed on the COVID-19 dashboard at www.joplinmo.org/coronavirus . The dashboard is a collaborative project of the Joplin Health Department and University of Missouri Extension Office’s “All Things Missouri”. 








Please note additional area and state statistics are listed on the Missouri Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard . As Joplin Health Department continues to work with residents in our community, they remind everyone of the importance in taking self-care actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you are fully vaccinated, it is recommended you wear a face mask in public indoor settings due to the current transmission rate in this area. Additionally, wearing a mask or physically distancing may also be required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you are encouraged to talk to your health care provider and find a vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Information about the Covid vaccine and locations can be found on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website. Information about the City’s Health Department’s vaccination clinics is also available from the Health Department at 417-623-6122.

If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions, including social distancing and wearing a face mask in public.

The public is reminded to still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your health care provider for medical advice before presenting at their office. Testing information, as well as other COVID-related announcements can be found at www.joplinmo.org/coronavirus. More details about coronavirus are also listed at https://www.cdc.gov/ .

The reporting of Covid-19 related deaths from the City may be delayed due to the time it takes to acquire confirmation that the death meets the vital record case definition and lists Covid-19 as a contributing factor.

Sam Graves: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice


(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

It’s been nearly 2 years since the first case of COVID-19 was discovered and despite all the flip-flopping from federal officials, we all now have a pretty good idea of what works, what doesn’t work, and how we can best protect ourselves and our families.

Chief among the things that work are the COVID-19 vaccines, which have proven highly effective, particularly at preventing folks from getting severe cases and needing to be hospitalized. 

Quite frankly, President Trump and his Administration don’t get nearly the credit they deserve for getting the vaccines developed and approved in record time.








These vaccines aren’t perfect though. Even though they’re highly effective, the immunity they offer isn’t 100 percent—nothing is. And, they may not be right for everyone, which is why you should talk to your doctor about the vaccines and what’s best for you if you have health concerns. I’m not going to sit here and tell you what you should and shouldn’t do because getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice and quite frankly you shouldn’t be taking medical advice from a farmer.

Let me repeat that: getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice. The federal government has no business mandating them. The President’s most recent attempt to mandate every American working at a company with more than 100 employees get vaccinated is patently absurd. Never before has a President tried to use OSHA to mandate a vaccine. It’s ridiculous and it’s just another example of this “bureaucrats know better than you” kind of thinking we see churning out of Washington, DC every day. It sort of makes you wonder, where will they dare to go next?

That’s why I drew a line in the sand this week. I led Republicans in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in introducing an amendment to prevent the use of our transportation dollars from imposing or enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates as a condition to enter public buildings.

That’s what I remain committed to doing. Unfortunately, the Majority wouldn't support it because they said there was no evidence it would happen. Don't forget that we were also told for months by the President himself that he wasn’t going to issue any sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandates and obviously that wasn’t true. We can’t wait for this Administration to trample on our most basic rights before we take action, we have to anticipate their next move and stop this madness before it starts.


Agenda posted for Joplin City Council meeting


JOPLIN CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2021
5th FLOOR COUNCIL CHAMBERS
602 S. MAIN ST. JOPLIN MO
6:00 P.M.



1.

Call To Order

Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America
2.

Roll Call

3.

Presentations

1.

Proclamation To Proclaim October 2, 2021 As Arbor Day

2.

Proclamation To Proclaim September 17-23 As Constitution Week

3.

Winter Weather Warming Center Guidelines

4.

Fire Dept. Resource Allocation Study

4.

Finalization Of Consent Agenda

5.

Reports And Communications

1.

Health Department Update

2.

News From The Public Information Office

6.

Citizen Requests And Petitions

7.

Public Hearings

8.

Consent Agenda

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-278

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of  Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 (Single Family Residential) and including in District R-2 (Two Family Residential) property as described below and located at 2521 S. Connor Ave.

Documents:
  1. CB2021-278.PDF
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-279

AN ORDINANCE providing the vacation of a utility easement lying on property at the Southeast Corner of S. Anderson Ave. and W. 26th St., City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.


Documents:
  1. CB2021-279.PDF
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-280

AN ORDINANCE approving the voluntary annexation by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, of property located at the End of Public Right-of-Way of W. 32nd St., Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.

Documents:
  1. CB2021-280.PDF
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-282

AN ORDINANCE establishing grades and accepting the Final Plat of Eagles Edge Phase 2 Subdivision located at the end of public right-of-way of W. 32nd St. in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.


Documents:
  1. CB2021-282.PDF
5.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-609

AN ORDINANCE approving the applications of Midwestern Built CrossFit for Monster Games; Ozark Christian College for marketing their 2022 Conference Series; MSSU Alumni for their 2022 Marketing Campaign; JOMO Pride, Inc. for JOMO Pride; Rufus Racing LLC for Summer Roundup Triathlon; Active Lifestyle for Joplin Memorial Run; Neosho Arts Council for Art Con; Joplin Disc Golf Club’s 17th Annual Four States Open; Emancipation Celebration Committee, Emancipation "Parks Day"; Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce for the 25th Bluegrass Festival; KEG Media (Fort Smith, Arkansas) for Mother Road Mayhem, and JW Sports Worldwide LLC for Ball'N Prep Girls Basketball Tournament, for utilization of FY22 Festivals and Celebrations support pursuant to Ordinance No. 2000-148, as authorized by the voters on November 7, 2000; authorizing the City Manager to execute appropriate agreements with each such organization for the utilization of such funds.

Documents:
  1. CB2021-609.PDF
9.

Resolutions

1.

RESOLUTION NO. 2021-015

A RESOLUTION    approving a request of the appointment of a member and two re-appointments of the Board of Directors of the Northpark Lane Community Improvement District.

10.

Ordinances - Emergency

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-152

 

AN ORDINANCE declaring the necessity of acquiring for public use certain fee simple right of way, permanent and temporary easements for the purpose of street construction improvements associated with the proposed Connecticut Avenue widening project from 32nd Street south to the I-44 Bridge; authorizing the City Manager and his designees to negotiate for the purpose of acquiring the necessary interests in land; authorizing the City Attorney and his designees to institute condemnation proceedings if such interests in land cannot be acquired by purchase through good faith negotiations; and containing an emergency clause.  

2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-153

AN ORDINANCE declaring the necessity of acquiring for public use certain fee simple right of way, permanent and temporary easements for the purpose of street construction improvements associated with the proposed Connecticut Avenue widening project from 32nd Street south to the I-44 Bridge; authorizing the City Manager and his designees to negotiate for the purpose of acquiring the necessary interests in land; authorizing the City Attorney and his designees to institute condemnation proceedings if such interests in land cannot be acquired by purchase through good faith negotiations; and containing an emergency clause.

3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-154

AN ORDINANCE declaring the necessity of acquiring for public use certain fee simple right of way, permanent and temporary easements for the purpose of street construction improvements associated with the proposed Connecticut Avenue widening project from 32nd Street south to the I-44 Bridge; authorizing the City Manager and his designees to negotiate for the purpose of acquiring the necessary interests in land; authorizing the City Attorney and his designees to institute condemnation proceedings if such interests in land cannot be acquired by purchase through good faith negotiations; and containing an emergency clause.  

 

4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-521

AN ORDINANCE approving the Real Estate Contract by and between the City of Joplin, Missouri, a Municipal Corporation, and Jasper County Sheltered Facilities Association, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation, d/b/a Community Support Services of Missouri, for the sale of 2202 South Jackson Avenue; and authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.    

11.

Ordinances - First Reading

12.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2021-281

AN ORDINANCE approving the voluntary annexation by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, of property located at the End of Public Right-of-Way of W. 32nd St., Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.

Documents:
  1. CB2021-281.PDF
13.

Unfinished Business

14.

New Business

1.

Closed Session

Vote to go into closed session, which shall pertain to and the hiring, firing, disciplining, or promotion of an employee or particular employees of a governmental body involving personal information more specifically for the purpose of evaluating certain Council employees; as set forth in Section 610.021(3) RSMo, as amended, 2020. This meeting, record, and vote to be closed to the extent provided by law. The City Council shall adjourn at the end of the session.

Michael Flynn backs Greitens; former governor takes lead in endorsements by pardoned criminals

 


(From the Eric Greitens campaign)

As reported by Fox News, former National Security Advisor to President Donald J. Trump and retired U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn released the following statement announcing his endorsement of former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens for the United States Senate in 2022:

“It’s clear that now more than ever, America needs fighters. Worse than the radical leftists, the corrupt Deep State, the mainstream media, and Big Tech are the feckless and spineless Republicans who have utterly surrendered.

The people of Missouri recognize that those who betrayed President Trump the most were not the leftists but the cowardly Republicans in Name Only.








That’s why I’m endorsing Governor Eric Greitens for the United States Senate. We don’t need any more insiders or career politicians in Washington, especially not those with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

Eric has been a fighter his entire life—as a boxer, a Navy SEAL, as one of the most conservative Governors in the country, and as a leader in the fight to get to the bottom of the 2020 election.

I’m proud to stand with him in our shared mission to revive our Republic.”

General Flynn now joins many other national MAGA conservatives who have endorsed Governor Greitens.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Steve Cortes, former Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, and several others have endorsed Governor Greitens.

Kimberly Guilfoyle has also endorsed Governor Greitens and serves as the National Chair of his campaign.

President Trump's pollster found that Governor Greitens held a massive lead in the race, with Governor Greitens at 48 percent and the Governor's nearest opponent at 9 percent.

The poll found Governor Greitens has support from 55 percent of those who view Trump favorably.


“This is not a case of winning simply based on higher name ID,” pollster Tony Fabrizio wrote. “Governor Greitens is truly the preferred choice on an even playing field.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Here we go again- Missouri Republicans to push for photo ID


By Rebecca Rivas

With several months to go before state lawmakers return for the 2022 legislative session, Republicans are promising to once again push to require photo identification to vote.

Committees in the Missouri House and Senate held hearings Tuesday dominated by discussions of requiring a government-issued ID for both in-person and absentee voting. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft testified at both hearings, signaling his intention to make voter-ID legislation among his top priorities once again.








“In-person voting with a photo ID makes it difficult to manipulate the system and easier to identify fraud,” Ashcroft said.

If lawmakers succeed, Missouri would join seven states that have enacted “strict photo ID laws,” which require a government-issued photo ID to vote — though three also allow for student IDs.

Republicans have been trying to enact a photo ID requirement to vote in Missouri for the last 15 years. Legislation has passed several times, but it’s never been able to fully withstand legal challenges.

“We know that creating a two-tiered system having first- and second-class voters is a recipe for confusion and disenfranchisement,” Denise Lieberman, director and general counsel of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, a nonpartisan coalition of voter rights advocates, testified Tuesday.

Lieberman said that thousands of people across the state can’t afford to pay for a government-issued ID, as well as the costs of obtaining birth certificates and other documentation necessary to qualify for an ID in Missouri.

Ashcroft told committee members that he didn’t believe requiring photo ID would disenfranchise impoverished communities because his office has helped roughly 1,000 people a year get state-issued IDs for free.

“We have the financial resources,” Ashcroft said. “We have the wherewithal to help more people, but we’re not having people that want assistance with that.”

Opponents criticized Ashcroft’s outreach efforts, citing a 2017 analysis by the Secretary of State’s office that found about 137,700 registered voters in Missouri did not have a state-issued identification. Another 140,000 voters had expired IDs, the analysis found, and 2,000 more voters had forfeited their driver’s licenses.






 

“That is woefully insufficient for addressing that issue if that is what that money has been allotted for,” said Mo Del Villar, legislative associate for ACLU of Missouri, pointing to Ashcroft’s office’s rate of helping 1,000 people a year though more than 200,000 voters don’t have IDs.

Del Villar also said the law would disproportionately impact communities of color, seniors and those who are transient.

Sen. Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City, asked Ashcroft if he could provide any evidence of voter fraud, and he cited a recent investigation involving two St. Charles County voters who sent mail-in ballots to Florida, and then voted in-person in Missouri. The cases were from the 2020 election, he said.

“So when you stated publicly, repeatedly that this was the safest election we’ve had, was that true or not true?” Washington asked.

Ashcroft said, “I believe it was the safest election we’ve had.”

On Tuesday, Ashcroft announced his vision for election reform, which includes using hand-marked paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines and only using election equipment that is not capable of being connected to the internet.

These proposals seem to reference concerns discussed in a previous House committee hearing, where legislators and his office tried to debunk conspiracy cybersecurity theories about the 2020 election.

“We want to be proactive rather than reactive,” Ashcroft said in a press release. “We are not trying to enact legislation because something happened, we want to establish legislation that will prevent something from happening.”

Lieberman told committee members that the secretary of state has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to consider eliminating all options of non-photo IDs, and the court said in a January 2020 ruling that it would not be permissible under the state’s constitution.

“This has been litigated time and time and time again,” said Lieberman, who has litigated four of the lawsuits against photo legislation in Missouri. “We will file a lawsuit; it will be struck down. I suggest that it is folly for this committee to yet again consider legislation that it knows to be unconstitutional.”

Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, didn’t address the ruling. He pushed back on the Missouri Supreme Court itself, calling it an “extreme liberal activist court.”

“When you cite the Missouri Supreme Court as some sort of authority,” Onder said, “I will note that they have been extraordinarily and increasingly activist in their decisions over the years.”

Parson orders flags flown half-staff to honor Wentzville Marine killed in Afghanistan


(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson ordered that the United States and Missouri flags at all government buildings statewide be flown at half-staff on Thursday, September 16, 2021, in honor of United States Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, of Wentzville, Missouri.

On Thursday, August 26, 2021, Lance Corporal Schmitz was killed in-the-line-of-duty while courageously assisting with evacuation efforts in Kabul, Afghanistan.






 

“We owe a debt gratitude to Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz that can never be repaid, but we will always remember and honor his service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation in the defense of freedom," Governor Parson said. “He put his life on the line protecting our service members and allies, and he made the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery. Our hearts go out to Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz’s family and friends.”

U.S. and Missouri flags will be held at half-staff on the day Lance Corporal Schmitz is laid to rest. To view the proclamation, click here.

 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Six COVID-19 deaths reported in Jasper County, 38 new cases

 


The Jasper County Health Department reported six deaths due to COVID-19 bringing the total to 213.

The victims were a man in his 30s, a man in his 40s, a man in his 60s, and women in their 50s, 60s and 80s.








Thirty-eight COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Jasper County today, with the following breakdown:

<1 year 0
1-4 yrs 0
5-11 yrs 6
12-19yrs 5
20-29yrs 5
30-39yrs 2
40-49yrs 6
50-59yrs 8
60-69yrs 4
70-79yrs 1
80-89yrs 1
90+yrs 0
Vaccinated = 4
Reinfection = 0

Nancy Hughes: What's your giant's name?

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

I Samuel 17:45 (NIV)


As I stood in the store by the life size cardboard cutout of the famous basketball player Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal, I was totally in awe – and a little unnerved. 


He was 7’1” tall and weighed 325 pounds. I was 5’8” and weighed in at about 115 pounds. I tried to imagine what it would be like to have him as a bodyguard and decided instantly that he would without a doubt intimidate even the strongest and bravest of men.








I could not help but compare Shaq with another man who, believe it or not, was much bigger. His name was Goliath. It is estimated from Scripture that Goliath was over 9’ tall and weighed a minimum of 650 pounds. Mercy. If you compare that with the average height for men during that time period of just a bit over 5 feet tall, you can appreciate how frightened they would be at just the appearance of Goliath.

In I Samuel we read that Goliath, a Philistine, had been intimidating the Israelite army day after day in an attempt to fill them with fear. And it was working. The army listened to his daily taunts as they focused on his size until they were all too frightened to challenge the mighty giant. Fear gripped the hearts and minds of the bravest of the brave in the Israelite army to a man, and Scripture tells us they were terrified.

Except for a boy – a boy named David. A belief and trust in God’s power, a sling and a stone later, the giant came down and the rest is history. David’s focus was not on the giant or his taunts; instead he was focused on the One he knew had power over fear, doubt and a situation that appeared hopeless to an entire army.

So let me ask you something: what is your giant? What fear keeps you awake at night? What scares you until you can hardly breathe and steals peace from your heart day after day? Is it wars being fought all over the world or the threat of a devastating disease or illness? Could it be that a close friend or family member does not know the Lord and doesn’t seem to care or maybe it’s the fear that someone you love no longer loves you? Or have you lost someone special to you and you fear being alone?

Whatever you are facing, I encourage you to switch your focus from Goliath to God. Bring your fear before the God of the Universe. There is no giant He cannot conquer when you trust Him to defeat every fear and doubt and bring your giant to its knees.

Father, thank you for battling my giants as I switch my focus to you and your power. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .

Reflect

Have you ever felt like situations in your life were so big that even God could not handle them?

Were you focusing on the giants or on God?

Apply

Write down the giants in your life right now that you are struggling with on separate pieces of paper.

Then, one at a time, wad up each paper and throw it away, switching your focus from the giant to God. Thank Him for what He is going to do to handle that giant for you.

Power

I Samuel 17:45 (NIV) “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

I John 4:4 (NIV) “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV) “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)
 

Paul Richardson: Hello, old friend

The good wife and I are now empty-nesters. Our grandson had lived with us from the age of two until he left for college at UofA. 

After graduation we suggested that he move back in since he was single and working a mere six miles away. In June he and an old friend joined together and rented a place in Carthage. 

Being the good guy that he is, we do see him at a minimum of weekly and on occasion, when he has items in this area to tend to, he will simply spend the night. 


It is good that someone checks on us regularly, this avoids any complications that might be labeled as spousal elimination and an act of “sideways”. Not that we, meaning the good wife and I, don’t get along, but let one of us lose at the daily card game and things get quite intense.








Since we have became empty-nesters, the good wife has promoted a progressive plan for the renewal of the interior of the homeplace. Along with that, I reclaimed a desk that my parents bought me almost sixty years ago. 

It was a desk that I had earned by reading one hundred books in the first grade. This task wasn’t on the honor system. I was required to set down every evening between my dear mother and my father and read these one hundred books out loud. I may have actually exceeded the one hundred book goal, but the promise was made that if I read that number of books, my parents would purchase me a desk of my own.

It is a fine maple desk. I used it over the years, but before I left home and had a house of my own, it was kept in a common room at my parents. Once I had a house of my own, my parents permanently moved the desk into my possession. As my children grew, they used the desk intermittently, but when the grandson reached an age where homework became significant, I moved the desk into his room. It is a lot easier when there is only one.

When he moved out in June, the desk came home to its original owner. When I completed the renewal of his old room, what is now referred to as the guest bedroom, I set up shop at my old desk in this new pink environment. It is a pleasant space, well lit and quite comfortable. A good place for me to call upon the voices in my head and transfer the stories to a medium that others can indulge in.

The last few weeks these articles have been generated as I sat at my old desk. It is a fine place to work from and all the while I forget how long this piece of wood has been in my life. I also tend to forget what brought it here. I read voraciously for years, then slacked off when I had some difficulty with my vision. I miss those days but with today’s technology I know I could rekindle that indulgence. My old desk may bring another old friend home to roost.

Report: Complaints by Lamar, Adrian legislators led to removal of LGBTQ history exhibit from Missouri Capitol


By Jason Hancock

When news broke that an LGBTQ history exhibit was suddenly and without warning removed from the Missouri Capitol, Gov. Mike Parson contended the reason was that it didn’t get pre-approval from a board he chairs.

But at that board’s first meeting in more than a year on Monday, neither the exhibit nor the state Capitol museum was discussed.

The board of public buildings — made up of Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Attorney General Eric Schmitt — met in the governor’s office Monday afternoon for less than five minutes to discuss and approve bonds and an easement.






 

A review of more than five years of previous public meeting minutes show no evidence the board has ever discussed museum exhibits, and the museum’s former director said in his 24 years on the job he never had to seek board approval for exhibits.

The pattern continued Monday, as the board adjourned without any mention of the exhibit.

Parson declined to take reporters’ questions afterwards, and Schmitt participated in the meeting by phone.

Kehoe, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Parson in 2018, said in an interview he’s trying to figure out if the board has ever played a role in museum exhibits.

“I’m not saying it never happened,” he said, “because I don’t know.”








He declined to say how he would have voted if the exhibit had come before the board, but added that “some parts of our history are uncomfortable to different groups of people for different reasons, but it is history.”

Call for removal

Parson said at the time of the removal that he only became aware of the exhibit after his office fielded complaints.

A records request by The Independent shows two Republican lawmakers — Reps. Ann Kelley of Lamar (pictured above) and Patricia Pike of Adrian — contacted the governor’s office through email to complain about the exhibit.

“Will you make the Governor aware of the gay rights exhibit that is in our Capitol building museum,” Kelley wrote in a Sept. 1 email to one of Parson’s staff. “In my opinion, I do not think it is appropriate for our school groups to see or for it to be displayed during the inauguration of a Republican Governor or at any time when the branches (are) controlled by a Republican majority.”

Pike sent pictures of the exhibit to a Parson staff member the following day, writing that “I believe that in our bicentennial year, for the many guests in the Capitol coming to our bicentennial ball, for the school children touring our Capitol building, that our Missouri Parks can find more appropriate displays to be featured at the State Museum during this high profile time at the Capitol.”

The day after the exhibit was removed, Connie Patterson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources, sent a text message to Kelli Jones, the governor’s spokeswoman, to make her aware “of our moving gay rights exhibit from Capitol late yesterday.”

Patterson said the department notified the governor’s policy director, Kayla Hahn, before the exhibit was removed.

“Getting media interest today,” Patterson texted. “Working with our legal on a statement.”

Jones replied: “Thanks for the heads up.”

With criticism mounting, the Parson administration announced shortly after the exhibit’s removal that it was being relocated down the street to a different building.

The exhibit was on display for only four days before it was taken down, even though it had been scheduled to remain until Dec. 26.

Called “Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights,” the exhibit documented the early days of LGBTQ activism in the state. It consisted of banners, curated by University of Missouri-Kansas City history students, recounting the activism of the city’s LGBTQ community.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Newton County confirms 21 COVID-19 cases


(From the Newton County Health Department)

September 13, 2021:
 
21 New Cases
94 Active Cases
13 Daily Recovered Cases
110 Deaths to date

New cases by age range for September 13, 2021:
Total= 21

<1 yr= 0
1-11 yrs= 3
12-19 yrs= 2
20-29 yrs= 0
30-39 yrs= 4







40-49 yrs= 4
50-59 yrs= 4
60-69 yrs= 3
70-79 yrs= 1
80-89 yrs= 0
90+ yrs= 0

Covid-19 tests conducted in Newton County for week of September 6 – September 12, 2021:

657 Total Tests
595 Negative Tests
62 Positive tests
9.40% Positivity Rate

Covid-19 Cumulative Tests for Newton County:

53,327 Total Tests
44,604 Negative Tests
8,723 Positive Tests
16.40% Positivity Rate

Newton County Vaccinations given:

25,154 Total Vaccinations
27.60% Percentage of population with one dose
23.90% Percentage of population with two doses
375 Number of doses administered in the last 7 days

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Jason Smith to Biden: Stop treating unvaccinated Americans like they are ignorant, evil or a threat to vaccinated Americans


(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

This week in Washington, Joe Biden rolled out the single-most outrageous, unconstitutional expansion of the federal government’s power in my lifetime, announcing his administration will require private employers to mandate vaccines for all their employees. 

He did this unilaterally, without Congress providing a single shred of legislative authority for this action and despite many states prohibiting such mandates. Essentially, he told the American people to give up their individual liberties or the Federal Government has the power to take away your job.








It makes my blood boil. This proposal deserves our most strenuous opposition. Once you submit to the idea that the Federal Government can mandate your health decisions, there is no going back. At that point, there is nothing the Federal Government can’t force you to do.

One of the most egregious aspects of Obamacare’s individual mandate was that it was the first time the Federal Government attempted to force individuals to purchase a product. It took us nearly eight years to undo the damage done by that misguided policy. We can’t afford another eight years – or even one day – of unfettered government power.

So, what should employers do? Fight. Take this administration to court. Stand up for your employees. If you trust them enough to make good decisions for your business, trust that they will make good decisions for themselves, their families, your customers, and other employees.

I will tell you this: I employ nearly thirty people and I will NEVER force them to take a vaccine. As I’ve said many times, I took the Trump shot. I believe it works. In fact, more than 70 percent of Americans 18 and over share this view and have received at least one shot. But this is an intensely personal decision. It should be made between you and your physician.








My message to the Biden Administration is this: stop treating unvaccinated Americans like they are ignorant, evil, or a threat to vaccinated Americans. People have legitimate questions. It is a new vaccine, and many have concerns about how quickly the vaccines were brought to market, which understandably makes people uncertain. They have religious concerns. Let people do their research. Let them pray about it. When you trust individuals, you’ll be surprised at how often they make the right decision – for themselves, for their families, and for their community. When you patronize an individual for a legitimate feeling of concern, hesitation, or desire to know more you only further convince them the vaccine is not the right decision for them.

Plenty of Missourians – both those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated – have suffered the severe consequences of COVID, from death to hospitalization. Instead of being angry at those who have suffered as much or more, the President should instead be angry with the politicians who continue to keep communities locked down. He should share his outrage with school administrators who closed their schools for over a year, in spite of plenty of evidence in-person classes did not pose a major risk. He should tell public health officials to stop undermining people’s interest in receiving a vaccine by insinuating that masks will be required forever.

Joe Biden’s speech lacked sympathy and compassion. It was not intended to try to answer people’s concerns. Instead, it was a temper tantrum. In fact, it left me with a question: Who does Joe Biden hate more – unvaccinated Americans or the Taliban?

After watching the President and his administration this week, it’s an honest question. In a single day, the Biden Administration released a statement calling the Taliban “cooperative,” “businesslike and professional,” and describing them as having “shown flexibility.” Meanwhile, he said that unvaccinated Americans “cause a lot of damage” and have “cost all of us” while becoming visibly angry. The President even went so far as to say his “patience is wearing thin.” Mr. President, our patience has worn out. We will no longer stomach your tyrannical overreach of power, your disdain for the sincerely held beliefs of half this nation, and your disregard for the lives of Americans trapped in Afghanistan. It is time for you to resign.