That’s June 2020, which seemed a long time in the future last spring when the Webb City Senior Citizen Center was hoping to reopen any month – certainly sooner than 2021. 

Neighborhood – March 17, 2021

Senior centers to reopen softly starting May 3

The Area Agency on Aging Region Ten officials announces their plan to have a soft opening for all seven senior centers, including Webb City’s, starting on May 3. 

With a continued decline in COVID-19 cases and residents being vaccinated, “I feel confident that we can safely open the centers with minimal restrictions,” says Jennifer Shotwell, AAAX CEO.

Nutrition program director Brittany Caine is taking the lead on outlining the reopening plan.

Each center will have activities on specific days of the week. Monday and Friday have been designated for clients to play pool. Tuesday and Thursday have been designated for bingo and lunch service. Wednesday has been designated for cards/games and exercise classes. Clients will be asked to call ahead to sign up for all activities, except for pool.

All clients entering the senior centers will be asked to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. 

Volunteers will be asked to oversee the activities and to help maintain cleanliness by washing any tables or chairs that are used for activities. Volunteers will also resume delivering to Meals on Wheels recipients at all centers.

“As time goes on and cases continue to decline, we may bring back other activities and have them on more days per week,” says Shotwell. “Bear with us as we get used to this new normal.”

Besides the Webb City Senior Citizens Center, AAAX operates senior centers in Barton County, Carthage, Carl Junction, Joplin, Neosho and McDonald County.

Vaccination clinic on March 18

The Jasper County Health Departement in Carthage is taking appointments for a vaccine clinic to be held Thursday, March 18.

Those with internet access are asked to register on the Missouri Vaccine Navigator before calling (417) 358-3111 for an appointment. The Area Agency on Aging is offering registration assistance to senior citizens who call (417) 781-7562.

As of Monday, Missouri is qualifying more individuals to take the vaccine. In addition to those 65 and older and with certain medical conditions, the following are now qualified to get the vaccine:

  • Teachers and other staff in pre-K- 12 schools
  • Faculty and staff of state licensed facilities providing care for children
  • Employees at public, private or nonprofit organizations that provide communications services
  • Employees that provide services in the dams sector
  • Employees that provide energy services, regardless of energy source
  • Employees of certain food production and processing facilities
  • Elected officials required for the continuity of government
  • Employees that provide IT services
  • Employees in the nuclear materials sector
  • Employees in the transportation sector
  • Employees in the water or wastewater sectors

New books on the Connor Hotel and Thomas Connor

On March 23, Joplin’s 148th birthday, Chad Stebbins will present a program based on his recently released books, “The Connor Hotel” and “Tom Connor.”

Stebbins is a communications professor at Missouri Southern State University and self-professed local history buff.

The presentation and birthday celebration will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, in the Council Chambers of Joplin City Hall, 602 S. Main St. The public is welcome to attend.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase during the event. “The Connor Hotel” sells for $21.99, and the “Tom Connor” is priced at $10. Both books can be purchased directly from Stebbins for $25.

This event is hosted by the Joplin Celebrations Commission, a group working to create awareness and events in honor of Missouri’s Bi-centennial celebrated this year; Joplin’s Sesquicentennial in 2023; United States’ Sestercentennial in 2026 and Route 66 Centennial in 2026.

For more information about this event or other upcoming celebrations, contact Patrick Tuttle at (417) 625-4789.

Sports physicals by appointment

The Webb City Community Health Clinic reminds parents that it offers sports physicals all year by appointment for $15.

The age range is 5 to 18. For an appointment, call (417) 673-0366.

State Historical Society of Missouri Launches the Missouri Encyclopedia

As part of its efforts to commemorate the state’s bicentennial, the State Historical Society of Missouri has launched the Missouri Encyclopedia, a freely accessible, engaging, and authoritative resource for understanding Missouri’s past and people.

Visitors to the encyclopedia’s website can explore topics like the Louisiana Purchase and Missouri-Kansas Border War and learn how these events shaped the nation and Missouri’s place within it. Biographies on the site illustrate the lives of Missourians who became movie stars, famous athletes, military leaders, politicians, and more. SHSMO executive director Gary R. Kremer said, “We hope that the Missouri Encyclopedia becomes the starting point for researchers who seek to learn more about the history and culture of our diverse state and its people.”

While the encyclopedia is launching in conjunction with the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial, the society plans to grow and maintain the site beyond the state’s bicentennial year.

“Our goal is to build a comprehensive online history encyclopedia that includes all of the state’s regions and time periods, and that covers a wide range of topics concerning the people, places, events, and traditions significant to Missouri and its past,” said John Brenner, managing editor at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

To help the resource grow, the Missouri Encyclopedia is actively seeking suggestions for local and regional topics. Topics suggested to the site’s editors will be evaluated for inclusion in the online publication.

“We believe that with the public’s help, the Encyclopedia can provide current and future audiences with an essential resource on the history of Missouri and its region,” said Michael Sweeney, coordinator for the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial.

The Missouri Encyclopedia is online and free to worldwide audiences. Click here to suggest a topic.

Affordable Care Act special enrollment period open through May 15

The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) wants to make Missourians aware of a Special Enrollment Period in response to the public health emergency which will allow consumers to purchase new individual health coverage or change their Marketplace plan for 2021.

This Special Enrollment Period, which runs from Feb. 15 through May 15, allows consumers to enroll for the coverage they need for 2021. Consumers may enroll for these benefits on the website. Some health insurers are also offering the opportunity to enroll for coverage for 2021 outside the federal Marketplace as well. 

If you purchase through the federal Marketplace, your cost may be reduced if you are eligible for an advanced premium tax credit (APTC). The credits are only available if you buy insurance on the Marketplace. They are not available for policies purchased off the Marketplace or for policies purchased through your employer.

Insurance companies offering individual plans in 2021 are Healthy Alliance Life Insurance Company (Anthem), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Ambetter from Home State Health (Celtic/Centene), Cigna, Cox, Oscar, Medica, and SSM (Well First Health). Consumers can access the department’s coverage map for more information on companies in their county.

“When choosing a new health plan, it’s important to consider more than just premium cost. Compare all costs, including networks, providers and drug formularies,” warned Chlora Lindley-Myers, director of the department. Additionally, be wary of deceptive sales practices, online ads, and phone solicitations. We have received complaints from consumers who purchased plans they thought were comprehensive, but ended up providing very limited benefits.”

For more information and to utilize the department’s shopping tool, visit the department’s website at or call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at (800) 726-7390.