Josh Conaway

News Reporter, Announcer

Josh Conaway is a third year student at Missouri State University studying political science and Spanish. He works as news reporter and announcer for KSMU. His favorite part of working for KSMU is meeting a wide variety of interesting people for stories. He has a passion for history and running.

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.

congerdesign / Pixabay

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.

Josh Conaway / KSMU News

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 Salvation Army in Springfield will soon distribute toys and food to families in December and encourages households to sign up now.

 

The nonprofit expects hundreds of households to apply to their annual Gifts of the Season Program. The Salvation Army invites families in Greene and Christian County with kids under 16, senior citizens or disabled family members to sign up now through November 13 and every weekday next week. 

The address to sign up and pick up the food and toys is 1707 West Chestnut Expressway. 

KSMU File Photo

 

Veterans Day this year will be subdued due to global pandemic, but a Springfield American Legion Post is getting creative.

 

Parades, complimentary breakfasts at restaurants, and celebrations with family and friends. That’s how the Ozarks region has celebrated Veterans Day in years past. 

File photo, courtesy of Downtown Antiques

 

The City of West Plains passed a 90-day mask ordinance on November 4. While some residents supported the mandate, most voiced disapproval, and some called for the removal of councilmembers who supported the ordinance.

 

The ordinance requires those over the age of 10 in a public area to wear masks, with exceptions like eating in a restaurant. Officers will enforce the mandate with a reminder for the first violation and a warning and citation the second time. 

Josh Conaway / KSMU News

The Republican Party won key races in Greene County and Missouri as turnout broke records.

President Donald Trump carried Missouri and its 10 electoral votes by more than 15 points with 92% of precincts reporting. And Republican governor Mike Parson easily won election to a four-year term as governor, beating his nearest challenger, Nicole Galloway. All Missouri House races within Greene County, except the 132nd and 135th , were won by Republicans by double-digit margins.

Josh Conaway / KSMU News

Republican candidate Bill Owen has been elected to Missouri’s 131st state House district. KSMU’s Josh Conaway reports. 

Owen ran to replace the term-limited Sonya Anderson and faced Democratic rival Allison Schoolcraft. On November 3 he won the district by more than 30 points. At the GOP Watch Party at the White River Conference Center in Springfield, he told KSMU he saw more turnout in Greene County than he’s seen in any previous election.

Josh Conaway / KSMU News

Greene County officials are predicting record shattering turnout ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election as voters choose between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller says he expects mail-in and early absentee voting to combine with Election Day voting to create some impressive numbers. 

Mercy Springfield

Citing a “high number of COVID-19 infections” and an impending flu season, Mercy Hospital Springfield has opened a mobile care unit dedicated to respiratory care.

The hospital said in a news release Wednesday it hopes to either directly treat patients in the facility and release them—or admit them to the hospital. The mobile unit is located outside the main hospital's emergency department and is equipped for 15 patient care areas.

Vox Efx / Via Flickr, used with permission

 

Turnout for absentee and mail-in voting is already shattering Greene County records this election year. KSMU asked county clerk Shane Schoeller how his office will keep the voting process safe on Election Day. 

 

That’s the sound of the Greene County Clerk’s office, which is busy processing absentee and mail-in ballots. 

https://twitter.com/shaneschoeller

As we approach Election Day, voters who have not yet sent in their mail-in ballots may now be worried their ballots won’t make it back in time to be counted. This is what they can do to esnure their vote is counted.

First, a reminder:  this year, there are three ways Missouri voters can cast their ballots:   absentee, mail-in, or voting in person on Election Day.   Mail-in and absentee ballots are not the same thing.

Jennifer Moore / KSMU

 

There’s an old saying:  money makes the world go ‘round.  And in rural communities, there’s often less of it, especially during a historic pandemic.  KSMU shares one town’s economic journey through this extraordinary year in the final part of our series, COVID in the Rural Ozarks.

At the small craft brewery, Wages Brewing Company in West Plains, beer flows from six taps, bringing customers treats like a milky winter stout and their signature “Landlocked IPA.”

Photo provided

 

Lin Waterhouse, an author living in West Plains, knew it wasn't a good sign that her husband's nursing home was calling her.

“In their e-mail, they would tell us that anyone with a [COVID-19] positive loved one would be contacted by phone,” Waterhouse said.

Her husband, Dave, was asymptomatic. But since nursing homes are doing more universal testing, a nasal swab had caught traces of the coronavirus in his nasal passageways. He was eventually moved into a COVID corridor.

File photo, courtesy of Downtown Antiques

Early in the pandemic, Missouri’s rural counties were largely spared from COVID-19. 

But now, many of state’s highest rates of infection are in rural areas. In this first segment of our four-part series, COVID in the Rural Ozarks, we look at one county’s tension between rugged individualism and regulating public health.

A history of tension over government regulation 

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