Sense of Community

Our ongoing, 10-part Community Journalism series airs quarterly

From poverty concerns to major policy decisions, this series dives beyond the headlines to provide in-depth coverage of issues facing people and organizations in the Ozarks. KSMU's team of reporters come together to produce 10 stories, four times a year;  see past espisodes of our Sense of Community series here.

(Photo: KSMU/Randy Stewart)

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are utterly devastating to both the person diagnosed with the condition, and to their family and loved ones.  One of the most heartbreaking aspects of Alzheimer’s in particular is not just the memory loss, but that the individual is robbed of language ability and skills, the tools necessary for a person to express him- or herself.

(Photo courtesy Seniors as Stars)

It’s a well-known—and much explored—theory that keeping mentally and physically active is beneficial to older adults. Not only that, engagement in the arts can have a transformative effect on the elderly.  We’re exploring that idea on today’s KSMU’s “Sense of Community” reports. 

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Scott Harvey / KSMU

Behind the wheel of his BMW, James Thomas carefully manages the turns around Springfield’s Phelps Grove Park. There are more pedestrians out walking and biking today, he tells his passenger. And he beams as I ask him from the back seat about his former job; vice president of architecture and construction under the legendary John Q. Hammons. His last big job, he says, was overseeing the design and construction of Hammons Field.  

But this is more than just a typical leisurely car ride around the neighborhood.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

On a mild September morning Jeani Thomson recalls the landscape of what was formerly Southwest Missouri State College, which she briefly attended in the late 1960s before getting married.

While her then husband was serving in Vietnam, Thomson worked toward a degree in psychology from Drury University at Ft. Leonard Wood. She would later earn a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, propelling her into a 25 year career as an attorney.

MO Chamber

In this segment of KSMU Sense of Community Series, Michele Skalicky takes a tour of the new Mercy Joplin still under construction.