Graham McCaw braved the cold at sunset Tuesday to play “Taps” in Memorial Park to observe the first anniversary of Bruce Benson’s death. (SUSIE CRUTCHER PHOTO)

Webb City’s Little Bugle Boy keeps the sunset “Taps” tradition going, honoring his mentor

Graham McCaw has been carrying on the tradition of playing “Taps” at sunset, which was begun by his mentor, Bruce Benson.

Benson gained nationwide attention for playing his cornet nightly for more than three years in front of the Webb City Post Office. Graham normally faces the American flag that flies at the Webb City Public Library. However, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, the first anniversary of Benson’s death, Graham played “Taps” in Memorial Park, where a marble bench pays tribute to Benson.

Local pharmacies join vaccine effort

Those who have signed up for a COVID-19 shot with Prater’s Pharmacy in Webb City have begun being called to set up appointments. You can still sign up here.

Also, Walmart announced this week that it has been approved to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

A Walmart phone message says the best way for eligible persons to get an appointment is to go to its websites: and

The list of stores participating includes the Webb City Walmart, both Joplin Walmarts, and Joplin’s Neighborhood Walmarts on East Seventh Street and Maiden Lane.

The Jasper County Health Department announced on Feb. 4 two additional deaths, bringing its number of COVID-19-related deaths to 129.

The Joplin Health Department on Feb. 8 announced one additional death, bringing its number of COVID-19-related deaths to 123.

Freeman ready to help with Obamacare signups

Freeman Health System announces that it has staff ready to assist residents sign up for an Affordable Care Act health insurance plan when the additional enrollment period reopens from Feb. 15 through May 15. It’s a free service.

“The opportunity for this additional open enrollment is unprecedented,” said Karri Foster, Freeman admissions supervisor. “Not only have we never seen an additional open enrollment in the last 10 years of ACA, but we have also never had a window of 90 days to enroll people in the marketplace plans.”

Freeman has a staff of ACA navigators to people understand their healthcare payment options and the assistance programs that are available to them.

To arrange an appointment, call (417) 347.8888 or send a message to

JLT to stage ‘An Evening with Langston Hughes’

Joplin Little Theatre, in conjunction with The Langston Hughes Cultural Society, will present “An Evening With Langston Hughes” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at JLT, 3009 W. First St.

Langston Hughes, poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist, was born in Joplin in 1902 and died in New York City in 1967. Besides his writings, he is known as one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. He is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

The evening will consist of poetry readings conceived by Nanda Nunnelly, with over 30 poems written by Hughes.

Tickets are $12, with limited seating due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Seats must be reserved, and are only available by calling (417) 623-3638. Face masks will be required.

I-49 overpass at Jane is finished

There’s news indicating that work is progressing on the I-49 Missouri/Arkansas Connector project to complete the final five miles of I-49 between Pineville and the Missouri/Arkansas state line.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced this week that Missouri Route 90 is open again in McDonald County, following completion of a bridge carrying it over the interstate.

Route 90 has been closed since early November.