Show Me the Ozarks - April 2024

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Celebrating Growth in Grove & Grand Lake FEATURING Outdoor Fun in Oklahoma April 2024 • Volume 23 • Issue 8
April 2024 • • 1 Discover Welcome to La Boussole The Best Version of You Voted Best Day Spa in Joplin and the Four State Area La Boussole Medical Spa & Wellness Center is a physician-directed tranquil Day Spa destination for excellence in Health, Wellness, Aesthetic Medicine, and Anti-Aging treatments. We offer the latest advancements in Med Spa Services: Acupuncture IV Therapy Weight Management Botox, Dermal Fillers, and PRP Injections Body Sculpting and Contouring Massage Therapy Laser Therapies Skin Resurfacing Facials & Peels Waxing Lashes Brows And more... 5594 W. Junge Blvd. Joplin, MO 64804 | Free Consultations 417.434.4449


• $100 reward for recurring direct deposit into account within the first 90 days

• $100 reward for using debit card 15 times on point of sale in first 90 days NEOSHO

* Community Choice Checking is a personal interest bearing checking that is intended for personal, family or household purposes and cannot be used for business/ commercial purposes. Funds to open this account must be new money from another financial institution and may not be transferred from another First Community Bank relationship to qualify. One set of offers per account per household. Limited time offer. Balance requirement & monthly maintenance fee are waived in the Community Choice Checking offer. Other fees may apply. For tax reporting purposes, a 1099 form may be issued at year-end to all accounts that receive rewards. See bank for more details.



Building a Nation of Neighbors.

Congratulations to the 2024 poster contest winners!

April is Fair Housing Month and the 56th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act making it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability or family status.

To promote Fair Housing Month, Joplin’s Community Housing Resource Board sponsored the poster contest for the children of the Joplin Boys and Girls Club in conjunction with several city and community sponsors. The contest kicked off in January and a pizza party was held at the club in March to announce the winners. SMTO is proud to feature the top four posters. The first through fourth place posters are also featured on billboards in the Joplin area to further promote Fair Housing Month.

1st Place Winner - Sophia 3rd Place Winner - Paizley 2nd Place Winner - Amyah 4th Place Winner - Payton
April 2024 • • 5
Rd Joplin,
Broadway Pittsburg, KS www comeaujewelrycompany com p e r s o n a l i z e d p e r f e c t i o n p e r s o n a l i z e d p e r f e c t i o n
1936 Rangeline
MO 525 S




About the Cover


The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce team sets its sights on making Grove and the Grand Lake region one of the best places to visit in Oklahoma.



34 Unlocking success: The remarkable job of growth and dedication at the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce

Featuring Oklahoma

37 Grove Rotary Club sees the need, takes the lead

38 Warm weather creates perfect backdrop for Oklahoma fun

41 Faces of Oklahoma

42 Zena Suri Alpacas give Tom & Kathleen Callan amazing adventure of a lifetime

44 Miami set to celebrate the arts while showcasing diverse culture

46 The Creative Edge: Carol Merciez: Managing the art of life

48 Why I Ride - Kevin Kirby: Feeling physically and mentally fulfilled

50 Oklahoma Business Spotlights

52 Faces & Places: Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Home & Garden Show

SMTO contents April 2024

in every edition


16 Cultural Arts and Entertainment

18 Calendar of Events: April brings spring temperatures with it, plus a solar eclipse you can watch at a community event. You could also experience Rainn, as in Rainn Wilson, who will be in the area this month. Get ready for upcoming flower gardening by learning how to identify wildflowers or using native plants in your landscaping. The Four-State Area is full of warm-weather activities for you and your family to enjoy!

20 Connect2Culture presents ...

33 Northeast Oklahoma Events


27 Tastes of the Four States - Finn’s

28 Show Me Dining Guide

54 Your House ... Your Home - Refresh your home with wall art

68 The Great Outdoors - A woman with a big heart

70 A Naturalist Voice - For You, “Our” full feathered support

Can you find it?

Find the GREEN smiley face on one of our pages. Email with the page number and spot where you found it. Submit your entry by the 15th of the month. A winner will be drawn from all the correct entries and will receive a gift certificate from an area retailer. One entry per household please. Good luck!

26 Recipe: Brown Derby Cobb Salad

60 Body & Soul Transformation focuses on physical and spiritual health

62 A Beacon of Hope

63 Meet the Doctors

64 Health Events

72 Fit for Life: Rice: Full of carbs, full of calories

health other great reads

22 Joplin Arts District

24 Faces & Places: Carthage Chamber Business Expo

25 Experience Carthage

56 Discover the story of Parsons native Nelly Don, who became a global fashion icon

57 Fashion Forward - One24 Boutique

58 Things We Love

65 Annual golf tournament is also a step in recovery

66 A Battle for the Ages: Planet vs. Plastics

Congratulations to Holly Taylor, the winner of the March edition Find the Green Smiley Face contest. Holly wins a gift certificate to McAlister’s Deli in Joplin, Missouri. The Green Smiley was on page 25 and page 74 in the food photos. Readers had twice the chances to win last month!




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April 2024 • • 9
Subscription Form Subscribe today! $41.99 - three years $32.99 - two years $19.99 - one year Visit to subscribe and pay online. Don’t miss a single edition of the magazine that has all of the region talking! The Ozarks Magazine Since 2001

The Ozarks Magazine Since 2001 PUBLISHER


Chonda Ralston, M.A.


Lee Timmsen


Sue Dillmon


Wendy Brunner

Kathleen Swift


Kelley Talent


Cheryl Franklin STAFF WRITERS

Ann Leach

Holly Hukill

Jeff Cantrell

Don Lowe

Larry Whiteley

Bridget Bauer

Amy Howe

Kristi Spencer


Mandy Edmonson


Gary and Desma Sisco

Show Me The Ozarks Magazine is published monthly by Legacy Publishing, PO Box 3325, Joplin, MO 64803. Copyright 2024 all rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine, in part or in whole, is prohibited without written permission from SMTO. Subscription rates: $19.99 for one year, $32.99 for two years, $41.99 for three years. Advertising rates sent on request. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, and art will not be returned unless accompanied by self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage.

NOTE: Information published herein is subject to change without notice. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited by law. SMTO makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of published information, however the publisher cannot be held responsible for any consequences arising from errors or omissions. SMTO does not take responsibility for, or always endorse the opinions of contributors or advertisers. SMTO reserves the right to not run an ad or article that is reviewed to be in bad taste or goes against the focus or mission of that of Show Me The Ozarks Magazine.

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It looks like Punxsutawney Phil was right on the money this year. He predicted an early spring and I, for one, am grateful. The comedy classic, “Groundhog Day,” is one of my favorite movies. For those who haven’t seen it, a man wakes up with Groundhog Day on repeat. It takes him a few starts to realize that he can actually live the day differently – be a little more kind, do better.

This April issue is not only a celebration of the warmer days of spring beckoning us to enjoy the many events and activities offered throughout the Four States, but it will also encourage you to go beyond shaking off the winter blues and inspire you toward genuine life change.

In our Oklahoma section starting on page 32, you’ll meet the small team at the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, making big strides with area businesses and residents reaping the rewards. You’ll learn about the success of the Grove Rotary Club’s efforts to help families acquire books and establish a love of reading early in life (page 37). You’ll also meet some folks who prove it’s never too late to make changes and build a life you enjoy. Tom and Kathleen Callan never dreamed they’d own and operate an alpaca farm that welcomes visitors from all around the country (page 42).

Other life-changers on our pages include a fashion icon who upset the industry from her kitchen in Parsons, Kansas, and an artist who discovered a new passion for painting with watercolors during Covid. Daniel Wade shares his story of transformation beginning on page 60. His desire to improve his physical condition, impacted his body, soul, and launched a business.

Whether you need to get out of a rut or just do a little spring cleaning, we hope you’ll be inspired to take action! For me, it’s about finding the right balance between the strain and hustle, while ultimately trusting the One who rules and reigns over the results. The Great Outdoors article about Annie on page 68 captures it well and may have caused me to tear up a little.

Carpe diem, friends! (Seize the day)


Box 3325 • Joplin, MO 64803 844.417.SMTO (7686)
The artist known as Grandma Moses gained international fame in her 70s, when she started to paint after the death of her husband. The folk painter’s tributes to rural America, like “The Storm” (above), were lauded by presidents and governors, and are on display at the Smithsonian Museum.
April 2024 • • 13 State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, State Farm Indemnity Company, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, State Farm General Insurance Company, Bloomington, IL State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas, State Farm Lloyds, Richardson, TX State Farm Florida Insurance Company, Winter Haven, FL Your local agent for home & auto Call me for a quote today Agent 530 N East Street, Suite E Webb City, MO 64870 Bus: 417-673-2500 Fax: 417-673-2534 Kyle Hickam

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Joplin, MO


April 13: Celebrating Elvis Presley’s Recordings from Sun Studios with Hot Club of Cowtown & Tyler Hilton, 7 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.), Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. Seventh St. Don’t miss actor and singer/songwriter Tyler Hilton and the talented trio Hot Club of Cowtown as they team up to bring Elvis’ most-celebrated hits to life on stage. Tickets may be purchased at, 417.501.5550 or at the C2C box office inside the Cornell Complex (Tues.-Sat., 1-5 p.m.). Tickets: $35-$40. More information:, 417.501.5550.

April 18-20: “Xanadu,” 7 p.m., Joplin High School, 2104 S. Indiana Ave. Joplin High School’s Theatre Department invites you to experience the musical “Xanadu”! Follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California, in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time—the first roller disco! Tickets available for purchase at landing/39902. Tickets: $8-$10. More information: ashleytrotnic@

April 19: Joplin Improv Live Show, 8 p.m., Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, 506 S. Joplin Ave. Enjoy happy hour at 7 p.m. Then, stick around for a free improvised comedy show. More information: joplinimprov@

April 20: Jontavious Willis, 7 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.), Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. Seventh St. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist and Grammy-nominated artist, Jontavious Willis is determined to reinvigorate today’s blues with the spirit of the past. No reservations required. More information: lauren@, 417.501.5550.

April 23: Time for Three, 7 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.), Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. Seventh St. Experience this string trio’s charismatic and enthusiastic performance that defies and embraces the traditions of Western music! Tickets may be purchased at, 417.501.5550 or at the C2C box office inside the Cornell Complex (Tues.-Sat., 1-5 p.m.). Tickets: $40-$45. More information:, 417.501.5550.

April 26: New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players production of “The Pirates of Penzance” in One Act & An Evening of Gilbert & Sullivan Favorites, 7 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.), Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. Seventh St. Come sail the high seas with one act of one of the most famous musicals in theatre history! Then, after intermission, experience the best of Gilbert & Sullivan. Tickets may be purchased at, 417.501.5550 or at the C2C box office inside the Cornell Complex (Tues.-Sat., 1-5 p.m.). Tickets: $40-$45. More information:, 417.501.5550.

Monett, MO


April 14: “Hello Summertime!,” 3-4:45 p.m., Monett High School, 1 David Sippy Drive. The Ozark Festival Orchestra wraps up its 44th season and celebrates the start of summer! Additional details to come. More information:, 417.849.6865.

Joplin, MO


April 1-30: National Poetry Month. April 2024 marks the 28th annual celebration of poets and poetry. Launched by the Academy of American

Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public poets have an integral role to play in our culture and poetry matters. More information:

April 2: Opening Reception: Joplin K-12 Art Show, 5:30 p.m., Joplin High School, 2104 S. Indiana Ave. Support and celebrate the talented Joplin Schools students whose artwork is on display in the Joplin High School Performing Art Center foyer and gallery. More information:

April 2: Rock Club, 5:30 p.m., Joplin History & Mineral Museum, 504 S. Schifferdecker Ave. Club members listen to presentations on various rockrelated topics, show off their favorite finds during a show-and-tell portion and help plan upcoming rock shows. No registration required. More information:, 417.623.1180 X1586.

April 4: First Thursday ArtWalk, 5:30-8:30 p.m., downtown Joplin. See fine art and art at its finest. A sophisticated event for area artists as well as patrons of the arts. Dozens of artists will show or demonstrate their artistic process, and all art will be for sale. Participating artists will be located inside various venues along with live, acoustic music from local musicians. This event is held on the first Thursday of the month, March through October. Map of participating locations is available at facebook. com/FirstThursdayArtWalkJoplin. More information: lteeter00@gmail. com, 417.438.5931.

April 5-8: Solar-bration Eclipse Festival. An exciting four-day festival revolving around the coming solar eclipse! The festival kicks off Friday, April 5, with an adults-only fundraiser and program at Chaos Brewing Company with a special eclipse beer, pizza and giant pretzels. Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, the Creative Learning Alliance’s Science Center lawn at 300 Main St. will be full of activities, stations, presentations and more. Monday, April 8, join the Creative Learning Alliance for an eclipse viewing party with free glasses for all attendees and lots more activities to do while you wait for peak coverage. More information: neely@, 417.850.7137.

April 6: The ARTY 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m.-noon, Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Spiva Center for the Arts, 212 W. Seventh St. A unique event that celebrates health, the arts and individuality with a splash of vibrant colors. Walk, run or dance through the Arty 5K & Fun Run and help Spiva Center for the Arts champion the arts community in the Joplin area. Funds raised support Spiva Center for the Arts’ advocacy, education and outreach initiatives. Team pricing available. Cost: 5K individual $25; 1-Mile Fun Run individual $20. More information:, 417.623.0183.

April 7, 14, 21 & 28: Open Mic Comedy Night, 9 p.m. (sign-up 8:30 p.m.), Blackthorn Pizza & Pub, 510 S. Joplin Ave. Join Joplin Comedy and try out your latest stand-up routine or take in the acts of local comedians. Age restrictions: 18+ until 10 p.m., 21+ from 10 p.m. until close. More information:, 417.540.9186.

April 11: Joplin Writers’ Guild, 6 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. The Joplin Writers’ Guild, a chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild, includes a wide variety of writers. The group focuses on supporting each other and sharing information about the publishing and writing industries. Dues are $10 for the year, but anyone interested can attend their first meeting free. More information:, 417.691.0480.

April 14: 2nd Sunday Cinema (ages 14+), 1-4 p.m. at Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, 212 W. Seventh St., or 6-9 p.m. at the Route 66 Theater, 24 S. Main St., Webb City. 2nd Sunday Cinema is a monthly celebration of films produced by regional filmmakers from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma! Every second Sunday of the month, Great Wonders Productions will host screenings of films selected by their Uplift Film Fest jury and will invite filmmakers for live interviews and Q&As about their films. A portion of the box office sales will go to filmmakers, supporting filmmaking and cinematic storytelling in the Four States. Advance tickets highly recommended; purchase tickets at

16 or at Tickets: $10. More information:, 417.437.2001.

April 15: Downtown Poetry Reading and Open Mic, 6-8 p.m., Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, 506 S. Joplin Ave. Open mic sign-up begins at 6 p.m. Featured readers Lori Martin and Pittsburg State University students begin at 6:15 p.m. Open mic readings follow at 7 p.m. Meets the third Monday of each month. More information:

April 18: Third Thursday, 5:30-8:30 p.m., downtown Joplin. Every third Thursday, March through October, thousands of people gather on Main Street in downtown Joplin to enjoy local artisans, music, entertainment and food. More information:, 417.501.9649.

April 20: MSSU’s World Music & Cuisine Festival, 5-7:30 p.m., Missouri Southern State University, 3950 E. Newman Rd. Join MSSU for the ninth annual World Music and Cuisine Festival, featuring foods, live music and performances from around the globe. Cost: Unlimited sample wristband $15, children/MSSU students $10. More information: stebbins-c@mssu. edu, 417.625.9736.

April 25: Saltzman Series for Visiting Writers with Chase Dearinger, 6 p.m., Missouri Southern State University Phelps Theater, 3950 E. Newman Rd. Brings contemporary poets and writers of fiction and creative nonfiction to Joplin. Chase Dearinger will read from his debut novel, “The New Dark.” More information:


March 2-April 30: Sgraffito by Linda Ellard-Brown, Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Post Art Library presents a selection of sgraffito works by Joplin-based clay artist Linda Ellard-Brown inside the Joplin Public Library. The word “sgraffito” means the cutting or scratching through an outer coating of slip, glaze or englobe to expose the different-colored clay body beneath. More information:, 417.623.7953 X1041.

March 16-April 20: PhotoSpiva Kids & Teens, Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Spiva Center for the Arts, 212 W. Seventh St. Kids and teens learn about photography as an art form. Local photographer and business owner Drew Kimble served as this year’s juror, choosing the best photos from each young artist, which are displayed in Spiva’s Reserve Gallery. More information:, 417.621.9814.

April 2-16: Joplin K-12 Art Show, Joplin High School, 2104 S. Indiana Ave. You are invited to support the work of Joplin’s talented young artists. Held in the JHS Performing Art Center’s foyer and art gallery, this show features a variety of artwork from nearly every Joplin school. More information:


Create N Sip Studios, 1505 W. 10th St.:

Wednesdays: Wine’d Down Wednesday, 5-9 p.m. A canvas and home decor DIY event. Cost: $28-$58. More information: coleman@creatensip. com, 417.680.5434.

Saturdays: Saturday Morning Choose Your Canvas, 10 a.m. Select the painting you want to recreate. Cost: $28-$176. More information:, 417.680.5434.

Dream Theatre Co., 124 S. Main St.:

Feb. 6-May 17: The Acting Academy, 4-6 p.m. Students work with experienced instructors to adapt children’s literature into public theatrical performances. This class, Class A, meets Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 17. Register at Cost: $120 per month + $25 enrollment fee. More information:

Feb. 7-May 18: The Acting Academy, 4-6 p.m. Students work with

experienced instructors to adapt children’s literature into public theatrical performances. This class, Class B, meets Wednesdays and Fridays through May 18. Register at Cost: $120 per month + $25 enrollment fee. More information:

Firehouse Pottery-Joplin, 112 S. Main St.:

Tuesdays: Ladies’ Night Out (ages 18+) until 8 p.m. Enjoy a creative evening. More information:, 417.553.0671.

Fridays: Date Night until 8 p.m. Friday nights are date night 2-for-1 studio fees for all couples. More information: firehousepotteryjoplin@, 417.553.0671.

Judy’s Ballroom Dance, 3950 E. Newman Rd.:

Tuesdays: East Coast Swing with Judy Schneider, 6-7 p.m. Dive into the basics of ballroom dancing during this six-week session! This group meets on Tuesdays, April 9-May 14. Cost: $75 per person; $50 for students. More information: Judy Schneider,, 417.392.0215.

Local Color Art Gallery & Studio, 1027 S. Main St.:

Tuesdays: Beginner Watercolor Class with Barb Hicklin (ages 8+), 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Join Local Color Art Gallery & Studio artist Barb Hicklin for an informative and fun class. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $20.

Tuesdays: Oil, Acrylic & Watercolor Class, 2 p.m. Personal instruction from award-winning artist Paula Giltner. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $20.

April 6: Fabric Collage Class, 2-6 p.m. Artist: Tricia Courtney. Includes wood panel and fabric. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $40.

April 12: Watercolor Class, 1-3 p.m. Artist: Joan Allen. Includes all supplies. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $30.

April 13: Paint Class (ages 8+), 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Artists: Jesse McCormick and Margie Moss. Includes all supplies and ice cream from Caroline’s. Paint Monet or Van Gogh or bring a picture of what you would like to paint. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $30.

April 19: Fused Glass Potted Cactus Class (ages 8+), 4:30-6 p.m. Includes all supplies. Artist: Jane McCaulley. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $35.

April 27: FUNdamentals of Paint Pouring Class, 6 p.m. One 8” x 10” and one 11” x 14”. Includes all supplies. Artist: Mary Parks. Register by calling Local Color Art Gallery & Studio at 417.553.0835. Cost: $40.

Spiva Center for the Arts, 212 W. Seventh St.:

Tuesdays: Creation Station (ages 6-11), 4-5:15 p.m. Explore the galleries, enjoy fun activities and experiment with a variety of media. Register at Sponsored by Dr. John and Joy Cragin. Cost: In advance $6, at door $8. More information:, 417.621.9812.

Fridays: Memories in the Making, noon-2 p.m. This art experience is centered on the expression of creativity through painting for those dealing with memory loss. More information:, 417.621.9812.

Tanglefooter’s Round Dance Club, 1802 W. Second St.:

Mondays: Tanglefooter’s Round Dance Club, 7-8 p.m. Learn choreographed ballroom dancing with experienced teachers. Cost: Individual $7.50, couple $15. More information:, 417.529.0686.

April 2024 • • 17

What’s Happening Calendar of Events

in the Ozarks

If you have an event you would like to see listed in the Calendar of Events, please email your request to: Events are printed on a space available basis and must be received by the 5th of the month prior to the month of the scheduled event.

Northwest Arkansas

April 5: April First Friday – The Eclipse, 3 p.m., downtown Bentonville square. Free, family-friendly community event features local artists, live music, a variety of vendors and fun for the whole family. More information at or 479.295.2396.

April 6: RunBentonville Half Marathon. This race takes runners on a tour through Bentonville to experience cool neighborhoods and beautiful landmarks, including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Momentary, amazing public art and a tour of eight public parks. Online registration closes April 2 at 11:59 p.m. Once online registration is closed, the remaining opportunity to register will be at the Health and Wellness Expo and Packet Pickup if race registrations do not exceed capacity. No race-day registration. More information at or 479.464.7275.

Carl Junction Community Center, 303 N. Main St., 417.649.7237

Monday, Wednesday & Friday Pickleball, 6-10 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 1-3 p.m., and Sunday 1-6 p.m. Tuesday yoga 6 p.m.

First Saturday of each month: Carl Junction Lions Breakfast, 8-11 a.m. The CJ Lions Club sponsors a monthly buffet breakfast with proceeds going to various community organizations and projects. Adults and children 11 and up, $7; children ages 3-10, $3; children under 3 eat free.

Pittsburg, KS

April 4: An Evening with Rainn Wilson, 7 p.m., Bicknell Family Center for the Arts at Pittsburg State University. Wilson is perhaps best known by audiences as Dwight Schrute from NBC’s acclaimed series, “The Office.” He has also spent years exploring the ways we all seek connection, hope, truth, identity and purpose – themes that have unfolded in content he has created for digital, television, books and live engagements. He has urged audiences and readers to dig deep into life’s biggest questions -- of philosophy, creativity, spirituality, love, truth, science, mental health and more – with humor and honesty through a television series, digital content and in books he has authored.

Joplin, MO

April 6: Eighth Annual Comedy for Camp, 7 p.m., Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. Seventh St. Venue doors open at 5:30 p.m. for pre-show activities in the lobby (silent auction preview, gift card grab and concessions). Features two nationally touring comedians, Greg Hahn and Chad Thornsberry. Benefits Camp Soroptimist for foster children. Tickets and info at comedyforcamp8.

Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center, 201 W. Riviera Drive, Joplin. Your local connection to Missouri’s fish, forests and wildlife. Check out the native plant landscaping, exhibits or hike the trails. Purchase a fishing or hunting permit, attend a nature program or watch for wildlife along the trails and banks of Shoal Creek. Enjoy a variety of free public programs throughout the year. Education Center is open Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and most state holidays. Call 417.629.3434, email or visit mdc. for upcoming events. The parking lot, grounds and trail are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

April 3: Hunter Education: Skills Session, 6-10 p.m. Registration required. Ages 11-up. This skills session will satisfy part two of the Missouri Hunter Education requirements. To enter the session, you must complete the knowledge portion and provide proof of completion by presenting either a

qualifier certificate or a completed hunter education student manual before the day of the event.

April 4: Virtual Program: Fish Cooking Equipment Needed, 2:30-3 p.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. This session focuses on the common equipment needed for cooking fish and different cooking methods.

April 9: Introduction to Fly Tying, 6:30-8 p.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. Join the Shoal Creek staff and MAKO fly fishers as we continue a flytying series designed for the beginner and expert. We will go over equipment and supplies needed as we tie flies that resemble a caddis fly. All materials provided, but feel free to bring your own vice and tools. Space is limited; please register.

April 10: Virtual Program: Where Can I? – Hunt for Mushrooms, 12-12:30 p.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. We will discuss morels and the life cycle of other mushrooms, habitat and locations of where to look for them as well as rules and regulations.

April 11: Virtual Program: Fish Cooking: Frying Fish, 2:30-3 p.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. This session focuses on frying fish, including the different types of oil, seasonings and methods.

April 12: Little Acorns: Rad Reptiles, 10:30-11 a.m. Registration required. Recommended for ages 3-7. Missouri is home to many different reptiles. Some are fast, some are slow. Some walk and some slither. Join us to learn about these rad reptiles and to make a craft to take home.

April 13: Wildflower ID Fundamentals, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. Let’s discover the beauty and uniqueness of ephemeral wildflowers. Join naturalists to learn how to identify spring wildflowers, then put your new knowledge to the test by exploring the wildflowers in bloom on the trails and around the center.

April 18: Virtual Program: Fish Cooking: Grilling Fish, 2:30-3 p.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. In this session, we will discuss different methods, techniques and ingredients to grill or bake fish.

April 20: Naturescaping for Beginners: Tried and True, 10 a.m.-noon. Registration required. Ages 5-up. Naturescaping is using native flowers, vines, shrubs and other plants that share our environment for our landscaping needs. The benefits of a purposeful flowerbed or landscape will be covered from the roots up, including starting with a new space to rehabbing an existing flowerbed. The design and plant components of a butterfly garden, hummingbird haven and more ideas to entice wanted wildlife will be included.

April 25: Virtual Program: Fish Cooking: Other Methods, 2:30-3 p.m. Registration required. Ages 12-up. In this session, we will look at smoking, canning, pickling and salting fish.

April 30: Wonderful Wildflower ID Webinar, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Registration required. Ages 8-up. Signs of spring can be seen everywhere, from birds migrating back to Missouri to blooms on the forest floor. Learn how to identify spring wildflowers and which ones you may see in your own backyard.

George Washington Carver National Monument Visitor Center Free Programs. Two miles west of Diamond, Missouri, on Highway V, one-quarter mile south on Carver Road. Visitor center and park grounds open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 417.325.4151 or visit *Programs will be presented outside on park grounds.

April 7: Casting a Legacy – Art Walk, 1 p.m. Join a park ranger for a walk near the visitor center, exploring commemorative artwork along the trail.

April 13 & 14: George Washington Carver: A Man of Great Faith, 1 p.m. George Washington Carver’s deep faith in God guided his life. He credited divine revelation for his scientific achievements and creative abilities.

April 20 & 21: Struggle for an Education, 1 p.m. Learn about challenges George Washington Carver faced in his pursuit of a formal education in the years following the Civil War.

April 27: Art in the Park and National Junior Ranger Day, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Visitors will be able to participate in demonstrations and instructional workshops using pastels, natural dyes, pencils and more. Artists needed for plein air painting, conducting art workshops or both. Children of all ages celebrate National Junior Ranger Day with a variety of junior ranger books, art activities and earning a special badge.


April 28: Film: “George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life,” 1 p.m. This 56-minute Iowa Public Broadcasting Service documentary highlights George Washington Carver’s complexities and reveals the full impact of his life and work.

ArtForms Gallery Workshops, 620 N. Broadway, Pittsburg, KS. 620.240.0165. ArtForms Gallery is a co-op of artists offering monthly workshops ranging from acrylic painting, watercolor, glass fusing, pottery, metalsmithing, jewelry, textiles, kids’ art and more. Call ArtForms Gallery to register for any artist’s workshop. Refunds/Cancellations: Decisions regarding refunds and cancellations are determined by the artist leading the workshop. For more information, go to the Facebook page at ArtFormsGallery620/ or visit

Every Tuesday (April 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30): Art Explorations, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Free. Join Gallery Artist Pat Glick every Tuesday afternoon for a fun time working on your own project or art.

April 3: Wood-burned Jewelry Tray, 4-6 p.m. Workshop fee $40, due at time of registration. Class limit of 10. Ages 14-up. Draw a design or stencil on a wooden tray. Woodburning tools available along with a scrap piece of wood for practice. Paint pens available to add color.

April 6: Neuro-graphic Drawing, 10 a.m.-noon. Workshop fee $35, due at time of registration. Class limit of 12. Ages 18-up. De-stress and build new neuro pathways in your brain. This is more about the process than the finished result.

April 6: Landscape Acrylic Painting, 1-4 p.m. Workshop fee $35, due at time of registration. Class limit of 8. Ages 14-up. Acrylic painting class for beginners. You’ll create your own galaxy! Canvas, approximately 14” x 16”, paint and brushes, along with instructions, are included with the fee.

April 13: Spring Floral Straw Hat Workshop, 10 a.m.-noon. Workshop fee $40, due at time of registration. Class limit of 14. Ages 10-up. Make trendy, chic and cute spring floral straw hat door hangers. Pick your own faux flowers, ribbon and other decorations. All materials provided.

April 13: Wood-burned Small Wall Hanger, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Workshop fee $50, due at time of registration. Class limit of 10. Ages 14-up. Draw a design or stencil. Wood-burning tools available along with a scrap piece of wood for practice to get a feel for lines and shading.

April 14: Lovely Embroidered Pillow, 1-3 p.m. Workshop fee $30, due at time of registration. Class limit of 10. Ages 12-up. Learn basic hand embroidery stitches. Will focus on the following outline stitches: running stitch, back stitch, threaded stitch, whipped stitch, split stitch, stem stich and fern stitch. Materials provided included fabric, embroidery floss, needle, embroidery hoop and frixion pen.

April 20: Bloomin’ Glass Flowers, 10 a.m.-noon OR 1-3 p.m. Workshop fee $35, due at time of registration. Class limit of 10. Ages 8-up (12 and under requires an adult). Use glass powders and water to create a slurry in a variety of colors and design a glass flower to be fused on a ceramic mold. After fusing and drilling a hole, a copper tube will be inserted to make a free-standing flower for your home or flower bed. Please bring a mask (N95 recommended) and wear close-toed shoes.

April 21: Basic Jewelry Making – Focus on Bracelets, 1-3 p.m. Workshop fee $40, due at time of registration. Class limit of 6. Ages 16up. Learn how to design and create with color composition and various finishing techniques and the proper tools to use.

April 27: Ceramic Birdhouses, 1-4 p.m. Workshop fee $60, due at time of registration. Class limit of 8. Ages 14-up. Make your own ceramic birdhouse with the help of artist Daria Claiborne.

April 28: Wood-burned Bookmarks, 1-3 p.m. Workshop fee $40, due at time of registration. Class limit of 10. Ages 14-up. Draw a design or stencil. Wood-burning tools available along with a scrap piece of wood for practice to get a feel for lines and shading. Paint pens available to add color.

Wildcat Glades Friends Group, 201 Riviera Dr., Joplin, Missouri. All programs are free of charge, unless otherwise noted. Registration is requested. To register, email or visit the Facebook page for online registration options. Robin Standridge, executive director,, 417.291.3156.

Various Dates in April: Ongoing Project: Wildcat Park Habitat Restoration & KCU Student Trail Initiative. Wildcat Glades Nature Group, in partnership with Missouri Southern State University and Kansas City University, continues to have work days to remove invasive species at Wildcat Park. The Restoration Plan is an ongoing project that will be carried out over the next 10 years. Workdays are held every other Thursday. If you are interested in becoming involved with the restoration effort, you can check out the Facebook page or contact colvin@

April 10 & 13: Preschool Connections: Salamanders. Free. April 10, 10-11 a.m., and April 13, 1-2 p.m., Wildcat Glades Education Cottage. For ages 3-7. Join Wildcat’s Miss Vicki as she talks, reads and sings about Missouri’s amazing salamanders. After a bombardment of salamander knowledge, you’ll wrap up the program by making your own salamander abodes! Must pre-register by visiting or by emailing colvin@

April 12: Natural Dyes, 6-8 p.m., Wildcat Glades Education Cottage. For ages 13-up. Age limit enforced for the protection of staff and visitors. $10 to attend. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty since you might pick up a few stains while dyeing your own tote bag and tea towel. Must pre-register by visiting Dyes24 or by emailing

April 13: Yoga in Nature for Kids, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Wildcat Glades Education Cottage. Free. For ages 4-up accompanied by an adult. This class is designed to incorporate elements of fun, breathing and yoga poses specifically for kids. Must pre-register. Sign up by following the instructions on the Facebook page, by visiting or by emailing colvin@

April 13: April Foraging Hike, 3-5 p.m., Wildcat Glades Education Cottage. For ages 13-up. $20 to attend. Kelly Hock is a certified foraging instructor and will take a group of attendees on a hike through the trails at Wildcat Park. Attendees will learn about the wonders of wild edibles along the trail system, the ethics of foraging and how to identify edible plants. Must pre-register by visiting https:// or by emailing

April 27: May the Forest be with You: Rise of the Natives/Revenge of the Invasives, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wildcat Glades Pavilion. All ages welcome. Free. Several organizations are teaming up to battle the forces of invasive species and protect Wildcat Glades! If the ultimate battle between good and evil isn’t your forte, we’ll also feature a native tree giveaway, live music, food trucks, recycled art contest and numerous booths hosted by organizations. Questions:

April 2024 • • 19

presents... The blues, strings, homage to Elvis, and some pirates

Hot Club of Cowtown

Four artists pay homage to the timeless works of the King of Rock and Roll and weave together a combination of country, jazz and swing.

An impromptu performance on the air of Los Angeles’ KLOS Radio launched Tyler Hilton’s award-winning career, which includes portraying Elvis Presley in “Walk the Line” and Chris Keller on “One Tree Hill” as well as writing and touring with Taylor Swift. Now, Tyler Hilton and the Hot Club of Cowtown team up to bring Elvis’ most-celebrated hits to the stage.

“We’ve been on tour with Tyler for the past year and it is always a joy,” Cowtown performer Elana James said. “My band opens the show, and the second half is when Tyler joins us and shares the more vintage take on Elvis. It’s a good fit with the vintage sound of our own trio.”

James is the fiddle player and vocalist for the show and was born in Missouri and grew up in Kansas City. “I spent so many great times in my early life in the Ozarks, like floating down the Buffalo River, going to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and camping. My dad and stepmom actually live in Springfield, Missouri, now. There are so many wonderful memories from my life there and I am pretty sure our show in Joplin will just add to that cherished collection.”

Want to go?

Saturday • April 13 • 7 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex

Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets: $30 to $35, plus fees. Contact the box office at 417.501.5550 for more details.

Jontavious Willis

Jontavious Willis is resolved in his mission: to reinvigorate today’s blues with the spirit of the past.

Willis began singing in church as a kid and started performing at festivals when he was 16. He said, “The most rewarding part is sharing the music, and I plan to give my new friends in Joplin a taste of the Georgia Blues and have a good time.”

Between all the tour stops, Willis is focused on a new album to be released by Strolling Bones Records and working on a festival he founded in Georgia.

Want to go?

Saturday • April 20 7 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex

Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets are free.



Self-described as a classically trained garage band, Time for Three’s (TF3) eclectic musical tastes cross the boundaries of genres like classical, bluegrass, jazz and hip hop in a blend that both defies and embraces the traditions of Western music.

“Our music is full of heart with big harmonies,” said Nick Kendall, TF3 violinist. “There will be original songs that we play. But then we always throw in covers that are familiar and some that aren’t as familiar, but people do recognize.”

Kendall hopes their Joplin audience is moved by the emotional journey the band takes them on in their concert. “Hopefully they will be unexpectedly surprised at times,” he said. “We are definitely a group that is in the moment with them. They get to know us not only as a band but as people as well. And we hope that our set allows people to think about the good nature of people. There’s a lot of joy, and we hope that people leave feeling joy.”

The band likes to experience local cuisine wherever they go. “We love taking in the fabric of the community and the

culture,” Kendall said. “So if anybody in Joplin has any great suggestions for us, please direct message us on social media and tell us where we should get our food. We’d appreciate that a lot.”

Want to go?

Tuesday • April 23 • 6 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex

Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets: $40 to $45, plus fees. Contact the box office at 417.501.5550 for more details.

The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players production of “The Pirates of Penzance” in One Act & An Evening of G&S Favorites

Come sail the high seas with six New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players in a night of classic comedy as they perform a one-act of “The Pirates of Penzance.” A band of tenderhearted pirates is planning to celebrate the upcoming birthday of Frederic, who was mistakenly apprenticed to them until his 21st birthday. Determined to rid the world of pirates, Frederic suddenly faces a leap year snag that threatens to keep him with the pirates for the rest of his life and prevent him from a happily-ever-after with his love, Mabel. Then, after intermission, the performers return to entertain the audience with selections from Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operas, including impromptu audience requests.

Want to go?

Friday • April 26 • 7 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex

Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets: $40 to $45, plus fees. Contact the box office at 417.501.5550 for more details.

April 2024 • • 21

Where it’s ‘COOL’ to be YOU!

Visit these local establishments to experience a variety of creative events and entertainment this spring:

JOPLIN ARTS DISTRICT NEWS - A snapshot of news, events and activities happening in March.


It’s time for the return of First Thursday ArtWalk running through Oct. 3 in historical downtown Joplin. And the monthly Third Thursday Main Street festival runs through Oct. 17. Both events happen between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Connect2Culture, 212 W. Seventh St.: For event schedule, visit; for ticket information and other details, call 417.501.5550. All performances are held in the Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Complex.

April performances include:

April 13: Celebrating Elvis Presley’s recordings from Sun Studios with Hot Club of Cowtown & Tyler Hilton.

April 20: Jonavious Willis, a Grammy-nominated artist, reinvigorating today’s blues with the spirit of the past. Show begins at 7 p.m. and is free.

April 23: Time for Three, a classically trained garage band bringing a variety of music across many genres at 7 p.m.

April 26: The musical “The Pirates of Penzance” in One Act. See six New York Gilbert and Sullivan players in a night of classic operatic comedy at 7 p.m.

Dream Theatre Troupe, 124 S. Main St.: April 4-6 “Sherlock, Strange Case of Miss Faulkner,” written in 1899 in New York, featuring local actors; $20, nightly at 7:30 p.m. RSVP 417.553.3742.

Local Color Art Gallery, 1027 S. Main St.: Join artist Barbara Hicklin for a beginner’s watercolor class on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a $20 fee. Bring your own supplies. Artist Paula Giltner offers a 2 p.m. Tuesday art class for a $20 fee to help you improve your use of watercolors, oils or acrylics. Call 417.553.0835 to register for classes.

Pennington Station, 518 S. Virginia Ave.: Parents Night Out, April 19, 6-9 p.m. Kids and teens ages 8 and up, $25; night of gaming, VR console competition, pizza and pop!

Countryside in the City


• Event Planner

Event Venue

422 S. Joplin Ave.


Countryside in the City is one of the leading florists in Joplin for fine, quality roses, flowers, plants and gifts for every occasion. Let our experienced designers and staff create a one-of-a-kind gift you will love. We also offer beautiful custom-designed wedding flower arrangements including wedding bouquets, centerpieces and boutonnieres. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Convenient parking.

Spiva Center for the Arts, inside the Cornell Complex, 212 W. Seventh St.: Presents the 2024 Jo Mueller Small Works Auction of donated works by area artists to support Spiva operations. The nationally acclaimed PhotoSpiva juried exhibit is in the main gallery. Other galleries feature the photographic exhibit of Jim Mueller: Local Legacy (he was the founder of PhotoSpiva), a photo exhibit of work by kids and teens, and the fourth gallery includes the work of the Four State Photography Enthusiasts in their show, Through the Lens.

Urban Art Gallery, 511 S. Main St.: Oklahoma artist Lee Bocock with paintings influenced by her Native American heritage. Meet Lee April 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Bar and Restaurant Offerings

Blackthorn Pizza and Pub, 510 S. Joplin Ave.:

• First and third Sundays of the month: Comedy open mic.

• April 5 at 9 p.m.: Comedy variety show.

• April 19 from 10 p.m. to midnight: A drag show hosted by Victoria and May, $5 cover charge, 21-plus years of age.

Brew Pub & Parlor, 813 S. Main St.:

• Pool tournament Sundays 7-10 p.m.

• Karaoke Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m.

• Free comedy show the last Friday of every month.

Chaos Brewing Company, 122 S. Main St.:

• Play free trivia Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

• Local putting night competition each month.

Club 609, 609 S. Main St.: The paintings of Justin Kidston. Meet Justin April 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, 506 S. Joplin Ave.: Showing local painter Tammy Brown and her work with themes varying from religious to horses in the exhibit, Journey. Meet Tammy April 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

530 Somewhere, 530 S. Main St.: Showing mixed media artist Amber Mintert’s show, Thoughtful Places.

Dance Clubs:

Club XO, 502 S. Joplin Ave.: Second Fridays are Latin Nights, all Fridays are Ladies Nights and Saturdays are College Nights.

Whiskey Dick’s, 516 S. Joplin Ave.: Outdoors Fridays/Saturdays. Xscape Bar, 530 S. Joplin Ave.: Thursday-Saturday.

Blackthorn Pizza & Pub is a welcoming and inclusive Irish pub in the heart of downtown Joplin. This hip spot is famous for its delicious food, huge beer selection on tap, the area’s best live music and unforgettable drag shows. Follow Blackthorn on Facebook for upcoming events. Open 7 days a week and now also open for lunch Thursday through Monday.

Blackthorn Pizza & Pub
S. Joplin Ave • Joplin, MO • 417.623.2485

Carthage Chamber BIZ EXPO 2024

More than 250 people attended the Annual Carthage BIZ EXPO March 9 at Carthage Memorial Hall sponsored by Mercy Hospital of Carthage, Butterball, Carthage Water & Electric, American Media Group and ABE Paint Team. Exhibitors and visitors enjoyed March Madness-themed games and a scavenger hunt as they learned more about area businesses that are striving to “elevate their game” to better serve their clients.

1. Nikole Culbertson, A Beautiful Image. 2. Wendy Lake (left) and Myndy Schmidt (right), Precious Moments Foundation. 3. Tericia Mixon, Fair Acres Family YMCA. 4. Nelda Patrick, Arbonne. 5. Sandy Shepherd, The Palms Massage and Day Spa. 6. Tim Albertson and his daughter, Charissa, ABE Paint Team. 7. Susan Wendleton with church members, Carthage Nazarene Church. 8. Kris Bullard, American Media Group.
1 6 7 3 4 2 8 5
Far Left: Julie Reams, CEO/President (left) and Paige Mock, Office Manager (right), Carthage Chamber of Commerce.

Experience Carthage

Spring is here and Carthage is ready! In April, we kick off Food Truck Friday in Central Park! You don’t want to miss this season’s line-up:

• April 12: Spring Fling –Kick Off

• May 10: Mom’s Rock- Mother’s Day Extravaganza

• June 14: Honoring Heritage – Battle of Carthage

• July 12: Kid’s Fest

• Aug. 9: Community Choice

• Sept. 13: Route 66 Bike Rally

Food Truck Friday is held the second Friday of the month from April to September and is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. There will be entertainment and activities for date night, family night out or a walk in the park with a friend. To stay connected to the events and monthly line-up of vendors, you can follow Food Truck Friday in Central Park’s Facebook page.

We are currently seeking sponsorships. If you would like your business featured during this community event, please call 417.423.8075 for more information. Also,

if you are a food truck or table vendor, registration is open. You can contact for more details.

There is a twist this Food Truck Friday season. August’s theme is Community Choice. This means you get to vote on what you would like August’s theme to be. To vote, stop by and see Jen at her booth during the April or May Food Truck Friday to cast your vote. This is truly going to be a season to remember.

Another great way to kick off spring is to check out the Carthage Farmers Market hosted at Central Park. It is open Wednesday and Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. starting April 6. To stay connected with updates, you can follow the Facebook page @ Carthage Farmers Market.

To stay connected with Carthage, you can follow Experience Carthage, MO on Facebook and at

April 2024 • • 25

Brown Derby Cobb Salad



3/4 cup canola oil

You don’t need to plan a trip to Disney World to enjoy the famous Brown Derby Cobb Salad, popularized by the Hollywood scene in the 1930s. It’s the original chopped salad, packed with fresh ingredients, making it a filling dinner option without any fuss. As temperatures rise and our cravings shift toward lighter dishes, this meal becomes my top pick.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire


1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cubed

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed


1. Make the dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and garlic in a blender. Blend until smooth and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set the dressing aside.

2 cups chopped chicken (or store-bought rotisserie chicken)

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chives, minced

2. Make the salad: On a large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuce. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows.

3. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and top with chives. Alternatively, you can toss all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!



Finn’s is a restaurant that is synonymous with excellence. The staff’s commitment to sourcing only the finest ingredients and their attention to detail elevates every aspect of the Finn’s experience. It’s not just the exceptional food but the overall atmosphere that makes Finn’s a must-visit restaurant.

Recently, I had the pleasure of trying the new spring menu, which showcases Finn’s most-loved specials with a spot on the menu for the season. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I was greeted with warm smiles from the professional staff and an ambiance that was relaxed yet sophisticated.

The Tuscan Chicken was one of my favorite dishes. The tender chicken, perfectly seasoned creamy spinach sauce and cherry tomatoes made a delightful combination. It was rich and full of flavor, yet it wasn’t too heavy.

The Candied Bacon Gouda Chop was a delicious and satisfying dish. The pork chop was tender and well-seasoned, but the addition of gouda cheese stuffing and the sweet and spicy bacon topping elevated it to the next level.

The BYOP, build your own pasta option, is perfect for those who want something customized to their taste. With homemade pasta, sauces, proteins and toppings, there are hundreds of possible combinations. It’s a great way to be creative and make a dish that suits your palate.

The cocktails were also exceptional. The Spring Martini and Strawberry Rose Mojito were the perfect drinks to sip on Finn’s patio, with its cozy seating and fire pits. The outdoor space is as welcoming as you’ll find, and it’s even dog friendly. As the temperatures heat up, so will the outdoor live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

And let’s not forget about Finn’s bakery case. From cookies and cupcakes to cakes, the desserts are as delicious as they are beautiful. You can eat on the spot, grab and go, or order the perfect dessert for your next event.

Now is the perfect time to visit Finn’s and indulge in the new spring menu, served by professional staff in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

April 2024 • • 27
>> Finn’s is located at 2707 E. 32nd Street • Joplin, MO • 417.624.3466 • Open Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

ShowMe Dining Guide

Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant

2728 N. Range Line Rd. • Joplin, MO 417.659.9393

For over 50 years, Granny Shaffer’s has been serving up the best home cooking in the area. From made-to-order breakfast served all day to pasta, steak and Dowd’s catfish, you’re sure to find something to love. Here at Granny Shaffer’s, it’s the little things that make the difference, like serving real butter with our homemade rolls and making our pies from scratch. There’s a reason we’ve been in business for so long! Come see us for your next meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner! $-$$

Hours: Mon-Sat, 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Sun, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Trackside Burgers

Haven 55

408 Havenhurst Drive • Pineville, MO

417.223.2055 •

Haven 55 is a cozy country restaurant with a magnificent view, delicious homestyle food and exceptional service. The culinary masterpieces from Owner and Executive Chef Alan Bone cannot be beat. You will love the New York strip steak with blue cheese cream sauce, the fried green beans, and you don’t want to miss Wednesday night prime rib! Located on the site of the old Havenhurst Mill, built in 1868, this historical restaurant overlooks the dam on Little Sugar Creek. $-$$$

Hours: Tues-Sat for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and dinner 5 p.m.-9 p.m.




1515 West 10th St. • Joplin, MO 417.717.1161

Trackside Burgers & BBQ is more than just award-winning burgers! We also have gourmet chicken sandwiches and tenders breaded and cooked to order, salads and much more. Trackside also offers award winning barbecue specials and catering for events, large and small. We are locally owned and operated. Come by and dine in, pick up a delicious meal from our drive-thru or order online! Cookin’ good food is what we do! $-$$

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Shawanoe Restaurant

70220 East Hwy 60 • Wyandotte, OK 888.992

Shawanoe Restaurant, located inside Indigo Sky Casino, is serving delicious award-winning chef creations daily. Bring your family and friends and enjoy delicious desserts, gourmet sandwiches, upscale salads, and a wonderful selection of pasta dishes. For the steak lover, mouth-watering steaks cooked to perfection. Everything to satisfy your appetite, plus your favorite beverage. Go to for additional information. Located inside Indigo Sky Casino, Hwy 60 West of Seneca, MO. $-$$$

Special Advertising Section

Club 609

609 Main Street • Joplin, MO 417.623.6090

“Treat your appetite to a GOURMET DELIGHT served ‘Joplin style’.” Flavorful specialties for any occasion, featuring salads, burgers and sandwiches. Delicious entrees – beef, chicken, pork, seafood and seven “pastabilities!” Offering appetizers, homemade desserts, soup du jour, beer, wine and mixed drinks. Kids menu available. $-$$$

Hours: Kitchen open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. • Bar open later

Bailey’s Family Dining

1200 Briarbrook Dr. • Carl Junction, MO

417.781.2944 • Like us on Facebook!

Bailey’s restaurant offers a variety of home-cooked meals that are sure to satisfy. Enjoy one of our many delicious burgers with hand-breaded onion rings or try a pulled pork chimichanga. On the weekend, join us for breakfast where everything is made from scratch. From sweet to savory, we offer specialty pancakes, omelets and all your breakfast favorites. $-$$

Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Hackett Hot Wings

520 S. Main • Joplin, MO 417.625.1333 •

“The only wings better are on an angel.” Offering 13 flavors of wings, plus salads, catfish, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, boneless wings and more! Call for catering and reservations. Now offering an additional dining area and sports room with 17 big-screen TVs and full bar featuring Coach Hackett’s Ultimate Bloody Mary. Check out the online store at (Smoke-free) $-$$

Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri-Sun, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Mon-Wed Lunch Specials, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Mon-Wed Happy Hour, 3-6 p.m.

Club 1201

1201 E. 32nd Street • Joplin, MO

417.626.0032 •

Now serving Joplin’s best brunch! Homemade beignets, pastries, biscuits and gravy, peppered bacon, eggs and parmesan fried potatoes and more! For lunch, enjoy your favorite appetizers, “out-of-this-world” salads, seasoned breads and your choice of dressing, soup du jour, sandwiches from burgers to apricot turkey and over 30 other choices! We offer a full service catering menu for private parties, business meetings and special events. $-$$

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Friday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

April 2024 • • 29 Special Advertising Section

ShowMe Dining Guide

Mis Arcos

1926 S. Garrison Ave. • Carthage, MO 417.237.0547

For the delicious authentic Mexican food you crave, there’s no place like MisArcos. We offer great choices, from our mouthwatering quesadillas to sizzling fajitas to massive burritos. There’s a reason we were voted Best of the Four States for Mexican food! Did we mention our two for $5 margaritas? Mis Arcos is the home of great food, fun times and lots of laughs! $-$$

Hours: Mon-Wed, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sat/Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Red Onion Café

203 E. 4th • Downtown Joplin, MO 417.623.1004 •

Casual urban dining in historic downtown Joplin since 1995. Famous for fresh salads, smoked chicken dip, burgers, pasta, grilled fish and steaks. The menu has a wide variety of gluten-free, low-carb and keto-friendly items. Extensive craft beer menu and wines by the glass. Full-service catering for groups large and small. Consistently voted “Best Restaurant” and “Best Menu” by 417 Magazine and The Joplin Globe. $-$$

Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Bricks & Brews

1531 Military Ave. • Baxter Springs, KS 620.304.2056 •

Bricks & Brews Woodfire Grill & Pub is bringing classic woodfired pizza to Route 66! In addition to our delicious pizza, we also offer a selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, desserts and have recently added barbecue and a salad bar to our extensive menu. Come in and enjoy our full bar, as well, featuring a large selection of craft beers. Don’t miss live music every weekend! Come see your favorite local artists perform. We can’t wait to see you soon! $-$$

Hours: Mon-Thu, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri/Sat, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.



417.624.3466 •

Finn’s is a semi-fine dining restaurant that caters to all your dining desires. Enjoy our dog-friendly patio and warm, inviting fireplaces. From our uniquely crafted cocktails, farm-fresh ingredients and Joplin’s best in-house bakery paired with our elegant, intimate atmosphere for small gatherings or a night out. Finn’s chefs are experts in their craft, with just the right touch to make your restaurant experience special. $$-$$$

Hours: Tuesday -Saturday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

Special Advertising Section
E. 32nd Street • Joplin, MO


is back in business and ready to serve you! The team at Casa Montez is serving up all of your favorite recipes as before as well as their famous cheese dip. If you’re looking for the perfect Mexican cuisine including delicious tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and so much more, you must visit Casa Montez at their new location. Call ahead for your to-go order and conveniently pick up at the walk-up window. $-$$


Tractors BBQ

Small Town,


pride ourselves on offering a large versatile menu and serving our community for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From comfort classics to barbecue and everything in between, you will not leave hungry. We offer a Sunday buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and catfish buffet Tuesday night from 5-8 p.m. Stop by and let us serve you! We are open Tuesday through Saturday 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 6:30 a.m.8 p.m. Closed Monday. $-$$


April 2024 • • 31 Special Advertising Section Find out more about advertising in the Four-States’ favorite Dining Guide! Call 844.417.SMTO or email: Sam’s Cellar Bar & Oven 101 N. Wood • Neosho, MO 417.451.3330 • Sam’s Cellar offers a unique dining experience under the historic square in Neosho, MO. Enjoy gourmet wood-fired pizzas, burgers, wings, wraps, subs or a specialty salad. The full bar offers signature cocktails, draft beers and wine to wet your whistle. Come visit us at Sam’s Cellar for a dining experience you will never forget! Voted “2023 Business of the Year” by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce & the Neosho community. $-$$
Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-Close Casa Montez 4224 S. Main St. •
MO 417.624.2272
Tractors BBQ and Grill
E. 12th St. • Lamar, MO 417.682.6677
Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
and Grill:
Come for the WILDLIFE. Stay for the sTARGAZING. Scan, plan & wake up on the wild side! THREE FORKS NATURE CENTER SEQUOYAH STATE PARK LODGE

EVENTS Northeast OK

Grove, OK

April 8: Water-color Class – Mountain Landscape, 1-3 p.m., Brush & Palette Art Gallery, 18 W. Fourth St. This class is open to the public. Class fee is $30 per person and includes supplies. For reservations, call the Brush & Palette Art Gallery at 918.786.9698

Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

April 13: Spillwater Drive. Doors open at 5 p.m., music at 6 p.m., Grove Middle School, 517 W. 10th St. The River Ridge Bluegrass Association will deliver Bluegrass music once a month at the Grove Middle School Auditorium.

April 18: Civil War Era Historical Days – A Walk Through Time, 9 a.m., Har-Ber Village Museum, 4404 W. 20th Rd. Immerse yourself in the 1860s with period demonstrations, reenactments, artillery groups and so much more!

April 19-20: Youth Art Show by Brush & Palette Gallery & Club, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and April 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Community Center/City Hall, 104 E. Third St.

Miami, OK

April 14: The Coleman Presents: Life with Lucy, 2:30-4:30 p.m., Coleman Theatre, 103 N. Main St. The event will open with words from Wanda Clark, Lucille Ball’s personal assistant, and Ric Wyman, author and historian who served as the founding executive director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York, followed by a screening of the comedy duo’s 1954 film, “The Long, Long Trailer.” Memorabilia will be on display in the lobby. More information: 918.540.2425.

April 20: Jefferson Starship: Runaway Again World Tour at Buffalo Run, 8-10 p.m., Buffalo Run Casino, 1000 Buffalo Run Blvd. As Jefferson Starship approaches its 50th anniversary, the group’s members look to the future with the word Paul Kantner, who died in 2016, said to them all the time: “Onward.” More information: 918.542.7140.

April 25-28: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” Live at the Coleman Theatre, April 25-27 at 7 p.m., April 28 at 2:30 p.m., Coleman Theatre, 103 N. Main St. Set in Western Indian territory just after the turn of the 20th century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. Purchase tickets online or call 918.540.2425.

April 27: Arts & Humanities Council: Ottawa County Country Arts Festival, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., downtown Miami. Mural painting, live music, live performances, kids’ depot, arts and vendor market, food trucks and charity car and truck show. More information: 918.542.4435.

Dates and times are subject to change. Please call the Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau at 918.542.4435 to confirm.

April 2024 • • 33

Unlocking success: The remarkable job of growth and dedication at the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce

Striving to be the leader in all things Grove and Grand Lake, Oklahoma, is what Amanda Davis, president of the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, has set her sights on for her community. And with a 26% increase in visitor spending in 2022, Delaware County is well on its way to be the place to see and visit in Oklahoma.

Before becoming the president of the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce in November 2023, Davis worked nearly 18 years in a leadership role in Miami, Oklahoma, within the tourism and visitor development industry. She also has a strong sales background in the marketing industry, so when the opportunity arrived at the Chamber, it was the perfect fit for her.

“I had some experience with economic development in my previous role and this new position is a beautiful blend of that: tourism, membership development, events and so much more,” says Davis. “I have been amazed at the level of production and output that takes place at the Grove Chamber and am thankful for this opportunity to

use my experience and leadership to continue to carry out all the great things happening here. I hope to add value from some of my previous experiences to see continued growth at the GACC.”

The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce has nearly 400 members and is staffed with three full-time employees, one volunteer, 15 active board members and nearly 50 Chamber ambassadors. With a shift in leadership over the past year, the staff has been hustling to keep the Chamber moving steadily along with the new growth.

Davis’ fellow two full-time employees and volunteer include Connie King, Carol Merciez and Don Bormaster, all of whom Davis credits an incredibly smooth transition for everyone as she moved into her new role.

Veteran employee Connie King, executive vice president, has been with the Chamber for 12 years.

“Connie does an excellent job in her role heading up accounting and membership,” says Davis. “She has established a strong reputation for dependability, and she knows what it takes to keep the Chamber growing and serving our members at a high level.”

Carol Merciez, Chamber administrative assistant, started in September 2023.

Cover Story SMTO

“Carol is the voice on the phone and warrior behind the desk keeping things going in the office on a daily basis,” says Davis. “She is an artist and is involved with the Creative Alliance and other art activities in the community. Carol is a soon-to-becertified yoga instructor, too!

“Don, our staff volunteer, brings so much fun to the office,” says Davis. “Don is a one-stop-shop when it comes to knowing the heartbeat of the region, and we are grateful for the many hours he spends assisting the Chamber and serving in roles with the election board and other organizations.“

Together, this team works tirelessly to ensure everyone has the resources they need to promote the civic and commercial progress of the community and lake region. The Chamber acts as a spokesperson for the business and professional community and translates into action the thinking and needs of its members. The Chamber also provides specific services to its members and to the community. Something you may not know about the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce is the amount of work that goes on each day.

“The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce is a very active and productive organization,” says Davis. “Our membership quantity and annual program of work are two areas where we would compare to a city with a population of 25,000-plus, almost more than triple the size of the City of Grove. The value that comes with membership at the GACC is at a high level.”

Now, the team is working to roll out the 2024 strategic plan, which will consist of beefing up the areas of economic development and marketing.

“These are two areas where members will see added value in their involvement with the Grove Chamber,” says Davis. “We are also expanding our legislative areas of work. In March, we added a Grove Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol and soon will be finalizing our legislative agenda with members across the lake region.”

Other parts of the plan include working with area partners to roll out a new lake-wide marketing campaign, launching a new series of “State of the Community” luncheons and many other initiatives.

Davis wants to be the voice for the members when it comes to legislation and matters that can adversely affect the Grove and Grand Lake region.

“We may not be able to make everything perfect, but we will work our hardest to make sure that our members are heard, and our voices are loud and clear in Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. Grove and Grand Lake have so much momentum and it’s exciting to see the relationship with our state, county and national level legislators so strong and growing.”

Upcoming events:

• May 3:

April 2024 • • 35
Grove Christian
April 19-20:
Weekend & Youth Art Show
Food Truck Friday & Art
Grove Farmers Market kicks off
May 4:
June 7-9: Toes in the Grand Summer Festival For additional information on what’s happening in the Grove and Grand Lake region, visit or call 918.786.9079.
With the Lt Governor and State Rep Josh West. Ron Young, Don, Suzanne Boles, Connie Chamber staff with Kerry, a new Chamber member.

Grove Rotary Club sees the need, takes the lead

When Grove Rotary launches a project, people pay attention!

Founded in 1946, this Grove, Oklahoma, club boasts more than 180 members and has a reputation for hosting successful fundraisers. The popular Lobster Fest has been known to raise upwards of $135,000 in one evening and all of the profits are given back to the community in the form of grants, scholarships and community projects.

President Cindy Hefner says the club is the second largest rotary club in the district behind Tulsa.

At one of the regular Wednesday meetings, she says Grove Rotary members distributed more than $87,000 to 40 nonprofits in the Grand Lake area.

Hefner says their success can be attributed to the generous members who are always more than willing to get involved.

“Our motto is service above self, and our members really do buy into that. That’s what we’re about,” she says. “It’s good to be a part of an organization that feels that way and cares.”

From current international projects, such as providing water filter systems to schools in third world countries, to past projects of building playgrounds and parks in their community, members of the club stand by their mission statement of Grove Rotary Club Sees the Need, Takes the Lead.

Currently, one of the club’s biggest projects is a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, says Mary Richardson, chairman of the Grove Rotary Foundation. Grove Rotary launched the program in February 2023.

The Dollywood Foundation launched Imagination Library in 1995 and provides free books to all children under age five who are enrolled in the program. The goal is to inspire a love of books and reading among children.

“We are responsible for finding and registering the children, not just in Grove, but all of Delaware County and paying for half of the books,” Richardson says.

Dollywood Foundation selects the books and ships the age-appropriate books to the children’s mailbox free of charge every month.

“We now have 1,176 children in one year, which Dollywood Foundations said would take three years to do that and we’ve done it in a year.”

Richardson says they have even higher hopes.

“We are constantly trying to get the word out and awareness out. Our ultimate goal is 2,020 children, which is the census data of children that age in Delaware County.”

Members of the Grove Rotary Imagination Library Committee get the word out through preschools, libraries, churches, hospitals and businesses.

In January, employees from businesses all across the county celebrated Dolly Parton’s birthday by dressing up like her for Dolly Day and collecting donations for the Imagination Library project.

“It was a lot of fun and helped spread awareness about the program,” Richardson says.

The club uses donations from members and businesses along with grants to fund the project.

Sometimes members of the club have an opportunity to get feedback from parents of children in the program.

“We see parents when we go to different activities in the community, and so many have said thank you,” Richardson says. “Some have come up and said, ‘With prices these days and our budget, we wouldn’t be able to afford books, so thank you so much.’ And parents say their kids are at the mailbox waiting, they are so excited to get their book in the mail.”

The program is meant to serve the needs of kids in more ways than one.

“You don’t know what some of those children are going through at home, so when they get that book, they can live in that book for a little bit and block out what’s going on around them,” Hefner says. “It just warms our heart to know they are feeling a little bit loved.”

“Even if they are not in Delaware County, all of the surrounding counties have the program, so we want all families to go online and look it up and it will tell you if your zip code is supported,” Richardson says.

Since 1995, the Imagination Library has given nearly 200 million free books to children.

Enroll your child in Imagination Library at

Donate to purchase books for Delaware County children at Children must be registered by a parent or guardian to receive the books. There is no charge to register or receive the books, regardless of income.

April 2024 • • 37

Warm weather creates perfectbackdrop for Oklahoma fun

elcome to the ultimate spring and summer escape! Adventure awaits you in the Grove, Oklahoma, and Grand Lake area! With lots to offer on the water and off, there’s something for everyone seeking the quintessential warm-weather experience. Join us as we delve into some of the activities in the area.

38 Featuring Oklahoma SMTO

Creation Safari Wildlife Park

14500 S. Cayuga Rd., Wyandotte, OK

Creation Safari Wildlife Park, nestled in Wyandotte, offers an immersive experience with animals in their natural habitats. Visitors can embark on a walk-through safari with majestic creatures like kangaroos, lemurs and zebras. Creation Safari Wildlife Park also offers a petting zoo, tortoise yard, sloth encounters and so much more. You can pay for a day admission or season pass. Visit the Facebook page to keep up with what’s going on this year!

MidAmerica Outdoors

42162 State Highway 127, Jay, OK Northeast Oklahoma’s premier outdoor recreation, off-roading and live entertainment park. Located in Jay, MAO hosts familyfriendly events open to the public from May through October that feature a variety of offroad racing action, live music entertainment, trail riding and much more. Upcoming events include:

May 24-27: Memorial Day Mayhem (SXS Championship Round 1)

June 12-16: Visions Off-Road (SXS Championship Round 2)

July 19-21: Midsummer Roundup (SXS Championship Round 3)

Aug. 16-18: Bid, Bad Back to School BBQ (SXS Championship Round 4)

Oct. 4-6: Legends of the Fall (SXS Championship Round 5)

Oct. 25-27: Halloween Havoc

MidAmerica Outdoors has a variety of offroad riding and competition opportunities for everyone. With over 1,600 acres of property and plenty of trails, you can find your preferred level of difficulty and enjoy a day of adventure with your friends and family.

Picture In Scripture Amphitheater

36656 S. 510 Rd., Eucha, OK

Bring your family or church group to Grand Lake in July to see “Ruth: The Story of Redemption” at Picture In Scripture Amphitheater. This acclaimed biblical drama runs every Friday and Saturday evening from June 14 to July 27 (closed July 5 and 6). Located on the south end of Grand Lake just outside Disney, Picture In Scripture Amphitheater has been bringing stories from the Bible to life for over 35 years. Find more information and reserve your tickets today at www.pictureinscripture. com/events.

The Anchor at Shangri-La

57221 E. Highway 125, Afton, OK

The Anchor Activity Park at Shangri-La Resort has been honored by the Oklahoma Travel Industry and received the RedBud Award as the Best New Attraction in Oklahoma. The Anchor offers something for everyone, from tennis and pickleball courts to an arcade, simulator bays, sports bar and more. The events are endless at The Anchor from trivia nights and karaoke to tap takeover happy hours, just to name a few. Experience all The Anchor has to offer!

Lendonwood Gardens

1308 Har-Ber Rd., Grove, OK Lendonwood Gardens is an eight-acre botanical garden located near Grand Lake in Grove. Shady pathways meander through more than 1,000 types of plants, including azaleas, dogwoods, peonies, hostas, evergreen trees and more. Visitors will find several major collections of certain plants, such as false cypress, daylilies, rhododendrons and Japanese maples. Lendonwood also is home to the Oklahoma Garden, featuring Oklahoma Proven plant designated by the Oklahoma State University Extension program. Save the date for the first Fairy Festival at Lendonwood, which is June 1. Bring your

little ones for a magical day of fairy houses, whimsical trails, enchanting crafts and more.

Grand Lake Sailing Club

31700 S. 605 Road, Grove, OK

The Grand Lake Sailing Club is a private club that offers various boating activities and social events to all who love sailing. Situated on the water’s edge, the clubhouse and large covered deck reflect a welcoming sign for all sailors. Being the only sailing club in Grove, GLSC is dedicated to exploring and helping all members maximize their sailing experience. A membership at GLSC offers full access to enjoy the club and its facilities and to join social events over the beautiful Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees. We are more than a club; we are a community! People from all walks of life who share our passion for sailing are welcome.

Har-Ber Village

4404 W. 20th Rd., Grove, OK

Har-Ber Village Museum is open and ready for your enjoyment. Come out and spend a day learning about the past while making memories in the present. Pack a picnic lunch or dine at the restaurant onsite. Shop for items in our gift shop from novelties to artwork. Come see pipers and drummers, people kilts and in other regalia, harps

April 2024 • • 39
April 2024 • • 39

Featuring Oklahoma SMTO

circle, education talks, living history skills demonstrations and so much more May 4. And May 11, join a ghost hunting expedition hosted by Midwest Mystery Tours! Hosts David and John will take a tour of the Village to find paranormal activity. Check out even more events online. Let Har-Ber Village be your entertainment destination this spring and summer!


Grand Lake State Park –Twin Bridges Area

14801 S. Hwy 137, Fairland, OK

The Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park is known for its quiet country atmosphere and excellent fishing for trophysized bass, catfish, bluegill and spoonbill. Bait and tackle are available at the gift shop. Lighted boat ramps, picnic areas, RV and tent campgrounds, snacks, lake huts, playgrounds, volleyball court and horseshoe pits are also available. Picnic facilities include tables, individual shelters and group picnic shelters for larger gatherings. The park is near the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Paddlefish Research & Processing Center, which collects important biological data, processes paddlefish meat for anglers and salvages paddlefish eggs. Visit Oklahoma soon and enjoy the beauty of our state parks!

Bernice Nature Center

54101 OK-85A, Afton, OK

The Bernice State Park Nature Center is created and devoted to educate the public regarding natural habitat in the Grand Lake area. The history of Northeast Oklahoma is also a part of the programming. Families are welcome to explore hands-on exhibits, animal exhibits and wildlife exhibits. The nature center also has an indoor active beehive and fish for the children to see. The center is located on a 66-acre wildlife refuge, which also includes a half-mile nature trail, primitive trails and observation towers. Staff also provide presentations to the public throughout the year. Admission to the Bernice State Park Nature Center is free. The establishment is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Honey CreEk Area at Grand Lake State Park

901 State Park Rd., Grove, OK

Located on the shore of Grand Lake is Grove’s own Honey Creek Area at Grand Lake State Park. The 38-acre park is open year-round. All RV and tent sites must be reserved online. The park also features a seasonal outdoor pool, picnic facilities, dump station, two shelters and four comfort stations with showers. While enjoying your stay in Grove, gather the entire family, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy some fresh air while dining al fresco at one of the park’s many picnic tables scattered throughout the grounds.

Spavinaw Area at Grand Lake State Park

555 S. Main St., Spavinaw, OK Nestled on the western end of Spavinaw Lake below the spillway, the Spavinaw Area at Grand Lake State Park offers a quiet, beautiful setting for all your vacation needs. Clean turquoise water flows through a stream located below the lake’s spillway. In the spring, the stream is lined with blooming dogwood trees. The outdoorsman in your family will especially love the fishing opportunities at Lake Spavinaw. Varieties of fish in the lake include channel catfish, crappie, large and smallmouth bass, sunfish, spotted bass, walleye and white bass. The Spavinaw Wildlife Management Area, which allows hunting and hiking, is also close to the park.

Boat Dealers:

Iguana Marine Group

100 Anchor Rd., Grove, OK

Iguana Marine Group offers extensive time on the water along with dedicated assistance in selecting the perfect boat tailored to your boating preferences. The committed team ensures outstanding customer support and profound industry expertise. A diverse array of top-notch brands await you at IMG. Alongside a great, smooth-running boat, having the appropriate gear is crucial. The Iguana Marine Group Pro Shop boasts a comprehensive selection to enhance your water adventures, from essential items like bumpers, ropes and life jackets to an array of water sports equipment. Featuring renowned brands such as Obrien surfboards, wakeboards and water skis, Iguana Marine Group caters to all your needs. Reach out today to make your spring and summer unforgettable!

Arrowhead BOAT SALES

4616 US-59, Grove, OK

For numerous years, Arrowhead Boat Sales has been serving the regions of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Texas with top-notch new and pre-owned boats. Committed to ensuring customers achieve the ultimate personal boating experience, Arrowhead proudly represents leading boat manufacturers such as Axis Wake Research, Cobalt, Malibu, Harris Flotebote, Barletta and Regal. With a selection of the newest boat models available for purchase, you are certain to find the ideal boat to suit your needs. Beyond merely offering quality boats at fair prices, Arrowhead is deeply invested in community service, actively participating in and hosting charitable events, as well as making appearances at various boat shows and holiday festivities. Come visit one of the marinas and be a part of the excitement!


Find more information on upcoming events by visiting the Facebook page or calling City Hall.

KDBA Drag Boat Race

July 13-14 at Wolf Creek Park


Labor Day weekend



Har-Ber Village Museum

2023 Faces of McDonald County

Nicole Reynolds, Executive Director

Nicole Reynolds is the executive director for Har-Ber Village. With her connection to entertainment and hospitality, this role is perfect for Reynolds. As a nonprofit, Har-Ber Village offers guests the opportunity to learn about the past while making memories in the present, and it’s what Reynolds loves most about it.

“I love the education of the pioneer era in our part of the country and how it engages minds and the possibility that visitors may go home with a love for history or a heritage skill,” she says.

Reynolds performs a host of duties throughout the day. One day she may be the museum advocate, the next day she’s giving tours.

“You’ll also sometimes find me with a school group or checking guests in when they get to the Village,” she says. “My all-time highlight for each day is learning something new about the museum and its involvement in our community.”

Reynolds’ goal this year is to receive a RedBud Tourism award for the Santa’s Ozark Mountain Village Christmas event, a highly coveted award recognizing organizations for their outstanding efforts to serve and promote Oklahoma’s tourism industry.

Outside of her busy days, Reynolds is an avid reader and enjoys reading great books all the time.

4404 W. 20th St. | Grove, OK

Mary has over 32 years of experience in the Indian gaming industry! With humble beginnings as a dealer, she honed her skills in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon and Washington.

During the first 15 years of her career, she remained dedicated to gaming operations, immersed in the complexities of delivering a remarkable gaming experience to patrons. This invaluable experience equipped her with a deep understanding of management in operations, ensuring smooth and efficient service in gaming and hotel.

Mary's unwavering passion for the industry, coupled with the invaluable lessons learned throughout her career, makes her a versatile professional, capable of navigating the dynamic landscape of the gaming industry.

Mary remains committed to continuous growth and learning in this ever-evolving field. Her exceptional leadership style, mentorship, meticulous attention to detail, and empowerment of all Team Members is the driving force of all those who wish to succeed.

April 2024 • • 41
Faces of Oklahoma

Zena Suri Alpacas give Tom & Kathleen Callan amazing adventure of a lifetime

There always seems to be so much to see and do when visiting the Zena Suri Alpacas ranch in Northeastern Oklahoma.

Over the past several months, there has been more excitement than ever for visitors as they get the thrill of interacting with a couple of youthful alpacas known as crias when they are born, with their lineage traced to the Andes Mountains in South America.

“There are two relatively new babies,” says Tom Callan, who is coowner of the facility with his wife, Kathleen. “A little boy, his name is

Luke Harold, was born on September 14, 2023. He needed someone to play with during the daytime. So, in February (2024), we purchased another alpaca, his name is Patriot Sky. He was born last July 4, 2023.”

It’s vital for the youngsters to be together and Tom assures, “These are herd animals, and they need another alpaca to be with them or they will die. They can’t be isolated.”

Along with the new youngsters that call this place home, there’s also a renovated guest cottage, which is known as Thursday’s House and named after a popular alpaca. Tom notes the cottage “has been completely remodeled. It’s a perfect romantic getaway for couples who want a place to stay overnight.”

Featuring Oklahoma SMTO

While simply spending time with the alpacas is sure to make the visit fun, another engaging and handson activity for visitors is available in an annex of the Zena Suri Alpacas retail store where Kathleen teaches weaving, spinning and felting.

It has now been a little more than a decade and a half since they started this amazing adventure. There’s a true sense this couple’s passion is as strong as ever and Tom affirms, “We love sharing our knowledge with visitors.”

They’ve built something from the ground up, and Tom says, “We purchased our first three animals on July 20, 2008. Now we have a total of 44 alpacas. There are 16 boys, and the rest are girls. Plus, we have one llama.”

The alpacas enjoy a spacious 78 acres of land in Zena, Oklahoma, they call home and are all handled as carefully by the couple as if these animals were their own flesh and blood.

Tom says with firm conviction, “We develop a lot of feelings for the alpacas, and it’s no different than if we had 44 adopted children of our own.”

This former pair of broadcast journalists, who gave up those careers for a different way of life, understand the importance of ensuring their alpacas are healthy and happy. As an example of one vital aspect, Tom says, “We have to make certain there’s enough water and food for our alpacas.”

Of course, there’s always plenty to do when making sure the alpacas have everything needed for them, and Tom also notes another all-important task is cleaning their barns.

Visitors come from the Four-State Region on a regular

Zena Suri Alpacas Fast Facts

Where: Near the shores of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, in far Northeastern Oklahoma.

About Us: Tom and Kathleen Callan met and married in Washington, D.C., where they both were broadcast journalists. They founded Zena Suri Alpacas in 2008, while living in Utah, and learned how to care for their animals.


Address: Zena Suri Alpacas, Tom and Kathleen Callan, 35401 S. 580 Road, Jay, OK 74346

Phone Numbers: 804.389.2579 or 801.828.8581

basis as well as quite a few other places across the country, including several travelers from Texas. Tom says they’ve even had guests from as far away as China, Peru, Russia and South Africa.

The Callans graciously share all aspects of their Zena Suri Alpacas venture, and Tom states, “While I do one of our tours, I explain the science of it all. And I think they love that. We combine our knowledge about the Zena Suri Alpacas and allow our guests to touch and feel their fleece.”

While touring the ranch and enjoying plenty of time with the alpacas, visitors are allowed to hand feed these adorable animals.

The Callans are hopeful everyone gets to browse through their shop and see what is available. Some of what customers will find include, “The best socks you’ll find anywhere around, as well as blankets, finger puppets, purses, rugs, shawls, sweaters, toys, yarn and lots of fashion items. There is an everchanging array of products.”

This incredible adventure of a lifetime has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time and Tom points out, “We built everything from scratch.”

The Callans had no idea how this would all go for them at the outset and Tom says, “It’s been more successful than we ever imagined.”

Miami set to celebrate the arts while showcasing diverse culture

Re-branded as the Ottawa County Arts Festival (OCAF) after previously being known as Mural Fest 66, the sixth edition of this muchanticipated event is set to take place late this month in Miami, Oklahoma.

Ottawa County Arts Festival Director Callie Cortner says, “Miami’s Mural Fest 66 originated in 2017 when the Miami Arts & Humanities Council’s board of directors sought to invite professional artists to town for a day that’s dedicated to celebrating arts and culture in the community.

“Since then, more than 40 murals have adorned walls in Miami, and there are intentions to expand this festival to other parts of the county in upcoming years.”

Cortner celebrates the festival’s positive impact on Miami and all of Ottawa County. “This is a fantastic opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate our diverse history,” she says, noting the special focus on the Route 66 Cultural District.

In describing the process specific to the murals, Cortner explains, “Artists must be willing to work within the theme of Historical Route 66 but will be free to express their interpretation of this in their individual styles.”

One key component of this festival is the third annual benefit car show. Cortner says, “It’s organized by Brian Cortner from Standing Water Kennels in Commerce, Oklahoma. As a passionate car enthusiast, Brian has restored numerous cars over the years and takes great pleasure in supporting the community.


44 Featuring Oklahoma SMTO
leads a team of three judges who meticulously assess the cars based on body, interior, engine, paint, tires and wheels, while rating each category on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest. The proceeds from entry fees and T-shirt sales will contribute to Dolly

Parton’s Imagination Library program in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.”

Cortner believes this is an attractive event and says, “The festival provides a platform for local artists to showcase their work, while giving them exposure and recognition within the community. By supporting small businesses and artisans, this event fosters a sense of connection and community pride.

“This not only benefits the artists themselves, but it enriches the local cultural scene, while creating a dynamic and diverse environment that appeals to both tourists and residents.

Ottawa County Arts Festival Fast Facts

When: Saturday, April 27

Miscellaneous Details: Food trucks and vendors available beginning at 10 a.m. Musical and little local performers scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Muralists will commence their artwork Friday evening, April 26, and continue throughout the day Saturday, April 27. The festival concludes at 3 p.m.

Mural Locations: Artists will be painting near the Route 66 Gateway to Oklahoma arch situated on South Main in Miami, Oklahoma. Woody’s, a beloved local diner, recently re-opened and offered a sizeable wall for murals, along with the nearby B&B Auto building facing Route 66. Additionally, The Donkey’s Den, a new establishment, has a primed wall awaiting artwork for the festival.

Artists: Five to nine artists are selected by a committee based on their application information and portfolio quality. A limited number of applicants who are current or past residents of Ottawa County will be selected to paint on a wall designated for local artists. Selected artists must submit a color rendering of their mural design for approval at least 14 days prior to the festival (April 13, 2024).

Other Activities: Inspyral Circus’ Stilt Walkers & Strolling Performers, large outdoor games, a small train ride, face painting and balloon art. Local bands Jahayla Overton from 10 a.m to noon and Left of Center 1-3 p.m. Also planning to have various health activities for educational purposes. Website: site/ottawacountyartsfestival

Car Show Registration & T-Shirt Pre-Orders:

More Information: Contact Callie Cortner at 918.961.0077 or email

Cortner is proud to be a part of it all and she says, “My passion for helping others shines through as I work with the planning committee to help create an inclusive and engaging environment where individuals from all walks of life come together to appreciate and participate in various artforms.

“I love that we are not only promoting cultural enrichment but also fostering a sense of community pride and collaboration. This festival gives me a chance to help make a lasting impact on the community by bridging gaps, fostering creativity and promoting a sense of togetherness.”

April 2024 • • 45

Carol Merciez: Managing the art

of life

Covid-19 quarantine provided Grove, Oklahoma, artist Carol Merciez time to learn some new art techniques.

“I discovered Let’s Make Art on YouTube and learned to paint with watercolors,” she said. “I had enjoyed drawing when I was young (her first drawing was recreating a picture of a boy and his cow), but I didn’t pursue art as an adult until 2021.”

The portability of watercolors appealed to Merciez. “All you need is a small palette of colors, a couple of brushes and paper, as well as water,” she said. “I enjoy the soft impression watercolor makes.” She describes her work as colorful and detailed and loves to paint fish, birds and flowers. “I’m inspired by photorealistic painters such as watercolorists Vincent Jeannerot and Alisa Shea, and oil painter Daniel Gerhertz,” she said.

A friend asked Merciez to join the Brush and Palette Art Club and Gallery after seeing her work on her Facebook page. “The Brush and Palette Art Club and Gallery was the first place I displayed

Featuring Oklahoma SMTO

and sold my art,” she said. Another club member introduced her to oil painting, which she also enjoys. “I love the dynamic colors I can put in my paintings,” she added.

But Merciez will have to wait a while to fully devote the time she would like to her art. “I have a new job at the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and I’m training to be a yoga teacher, so my painting time has suffered, but I will eventually find some balance and get back to it,” she said. “I do have some work for sale at Blu Bayou Gifts and Décor in Grove now. I’m trying to find balance between work, art, home and play.”

Despite her life demands, she is determined to achieve her 2024 art goals, which include having some art displayed at Integris Hospital and Lendonwood Gardens, and to participate in the Grand Area Creative Alliance Artsplash Weekend May 3-4.

“This is art displayed downtown at Food Truck Friday Art Festival on that Friday night, and at Art in the Garden at Lendonwood Gardens on Saturday,” she explained. And her long-range goal is to try portrait painting.

Merciez moved to Grove because of Grand Lake. “I’ve been coming here with my parents since I was young. I stay here because of all the other wonderful things about the area. It’s a fun place to live.”

April 2024 • • 47


Kevin Kirby:

Feeling physically and mentally fulfilled

Kevin Kirby played a little football and ran track in school, but that was the extent of his sports involvement until a few years ago.

“I had quit smoking and a few years after I did, I found I was struggling to take deep breaths,” Kirby said. “I began walking with my dog and I progressed from about a quarter of a mile to more than 10 miles. I guess I got bored with it and biking looked interesting and fun.”

His biking adventures have found him participating in gravel races, mountain biking and even trying his hand at videotaping some of his rides.

“I ride because it makes me feel good, mentally and physically,” Kirby said. “I’ve dealt with anxiety for most of my adult life and riding helps; it’s like medication.”

Kirby finds mountain biking is more mentally and physically demanding to him and rides an electric assist mountain bike an average of 20 to 35 miles per ride, depending on the elevation gain and trail/terrain difficulty.

48 Featuring Oklahoma SMTO

“That combination of working the body and the mind is extremely relaxing after I finish,” he said. “Endorphins are released in the brain when exercising. As natural hormones, they can alleviate pain, lower stress, improve mood and enhance your sense of well-being.”

And riding in new and different places like Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee encourages him to chronicle his rides with pictures.

“Northwest Arkansas is the closest place to mountain bike around here,” Kirby said. “But

with work, I only get to drive over from Grove (Oklahoma) once or twice a week.”

Kirby owns Grand Lake Pawn and a commercial rental space.

“My daughter and wife and I are currently working on building a couple of cabins for vacation rentals,” he said. “My daughter is also expecting a baby boy, so he will be a fun addition to my life.”

Building his own bikes has become a rewarding hobby for Kirby. “I started building

“Get out and enjoy nature and life as long as you are able.”

bikes to save money and get exactly what I wanted,” he said. “I can build, tune and test a bike in a day. The self-satisfaction of building something out of a pile of parts is nice, too.”

Kirby intends to ride his bike as long as he is physically able. He encourages those seeking to start riding by suggesting they “get a bike, find a trail and just ride. Get someone knowledgeable to take you or join a group ride.” He is quick to encourage people to “get out and enjoy nature and life as long as you are able.”

– Kevin Kirby
April 2024 • • 49

Spotlights Oklahoma Business

Turner’s Tastee Table Treats

11 N. Main St. • Wyandotte, OK • 918.533.3234

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy pizza! Turner’s Tastee Table Treats serves up piping hot pies with all the classic toppings, or try a new spin on an old favorite! You’ll also find scrumptious cinnamon rolls, calzones, breadsticks and more. This welcoming restaurant is the place to be for delicious food and happy memories with friends and family. Come see us today!

Grand Country Lakeside RV Park

55015 E. 270 Rd., #163 • Afton, OK

918.257.1959 •

Enjoy rustic relaxation for adults over age 55.

Grand Country Lakeside RV Park is a private, year-round, pet friendly, full hookup RV park that serves the over 55 community. We are located 1 mile east of the Bernice/Horse Bridge, a quarter mile off of highway 85A on S 550 Rd; being off the highway is great for peace and quiet plus we are competitively priced for a great value with the best amenities.

Over 100 pages of all things Grand Lake, Oklahoma.

Classic Golf Carts

3650 US-59 • Grove, OK

510 S. J M Davis Blvd. • Claremore, OK 918.791.9646

Classic Golf Carts was founded in 1986 by Ken Cole Sr., and while golf carts were not an everyday vehicle, Ken was a visionary and knew someday golf carts would be used in many different ways. Golf carts have become versatile vehicles on and off the course. Because of their quiet operation and customization abilities, carts are now being used on college campuses, campgrounds, hunting trips, at car dealerships, retirement communities and much, much more!

Classic Golf Carts is the only authorized Yamaha dealer in Northeast Oklahoma! Stop by to see the friendly staff at Classic Golf Carts and let them take care of you today!

Lendonwood Gardens

One mile west of Main Street on Har-Ber Rd., • Grove, OK 918.786.2938 •

Enjoy Lendonwood Gardens, an 8-acre botanical garden in Grove. Stop by the Oklahoma Garden for regional plant ideas, the Monarch Waystation to learn about butterflies, the Hummingbird Garden, where you might see hummers landing on nectar plants or the Japanese Pavilion overlooking the Koi pond, where you can feed the colorful fish. Make a date to visit Art in the Garden May 4, when artisans display and sell their works along Lendonwood’s winding pathways. Interested exhibitors should call to reserve space by April 28 at 918.786.2938. Also plan on visiting a whimsical Fairy Festival June 1. You’ll find color everywhere at Lendonwood Gardens! Open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Special Advertising Section
Special Advertising Section Har-Ber Village Museum 4404 W. 20th St. • Grove, OK Email: Info@HAR· • 918.786.6446
visit to this quiet lakeside village will take you on a nostalgic
Har-Ber Village Museum celebrates the bygone
of pioneer
collections of antiques, and frequent living-history
for visitors.
Life Spa
journey into
house eclectic
demonstrations bring the times alive
Remember the past, celebrate the present, imagine the future! Open the third Saturday in March through the first Saturday in November. Hours 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday. New
Grove, OK New Life Spa is a unique spa that provides therapeutic products and services for your health and healing. Our goal is to help you find the place of balance that includes your spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing. We are here to help you regain your health so your body will have the greatest chance to heal itself as God designed it to do, with a focus on pain management and overall health.

Grove Area Chamber of Commerce leaders and members held the 26th Annual Grove Home and Garden Show March 8-10 in Grove, Oklahoma. Attendees found aisles of great products, items and services just in time to inspire those looking for a new home or improving their existing home. This show is always packed full of experts eager to help people make their home and garden dreams come true. Since many people from around the region visit the area in the summer, attendees also found vendors showcasing area attractions around Grand Lake. Hundreds of people attended the event and some lucky attendees walked away with door prizes.

Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Home & Garden Show 1. Connie King and Amanda Davis, Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. 2. Pauline Hale, Jim Corbridge and Diane Hampton, Grove Rotary Club. 3. Jason Porter and Tyler Bush, B&B Heat and Air. 4. Mike Reynolds and Nicole Reynolds, Har-Ber Village. 5. Easton Allred, Advanced Tech. 6. Claudia Stogsdill, Tastefully Simple. 7. Kim and Jason Shearer, Grand Country Pest Control. 8. Kelsie Wilson and Sherre Johnson, Bolt. 9. Spenser Wood, Comforting Hands. 10. Lane Stewart and Abbi Dyer, Grove School students and C.O.W. Week reps.
1 6 5 3 4 2 9 8 7 10
Far Left: Sharie Cox, Grove’s Royal Liquor.

11. Nisa Feagan, Tara Stoner and Ellis Stoner, Miami Fireplace.

12. Julius Woods and John Dempsey, JW Construction.

13. Ben Barnes, Barnes Woodworking.

14. Tony Pilkenton, Green Country Sliding Doors.

15. Ben Graskemper, R&D Landscaping.

16. Jason Kelley, Culligan.

17. Mike Wilson and Donna White, McGraw Realtors.

18. Sandy Doyle and Kenny Doyle, K&S Metal Arts.

19. Randy Koehn and Larissa Koehn, Novus Glass.

20. Quintin Seat and Kieran Coyne, Omega Landscapes.

Far Left: Pauline Hale and Jim Corbridge, Lendonwood Gardens.

April 2024 • • 53 19 13 14 12 11 16 17 18 20 15

Refresh your home wall art with

One of the easiest ways to refresh your home is by hanging some recent photos or artwork on your walls. Changing your wall décor can be as simple as hanging family photos in new frames or moving current pictures around in a different grouping. You can use a single large piece of art or create a gallery wall with several smaller pictures or photos. Whatever you decide, start with an inspiration based on your current décor.


When hanging pictures and artwork, the average height is around 57 to 60 inches from the floor. The arrangement of these three pictures in this photo is a more formal way to hang a group of matching pictures. The light background of the matting around the photos accents the light color of the wall. The color of the wood frames accents the wooden chairs and table. The greenery in the pictures matches nicely with the green-colored cushions. Overall, this arrangement looks nicely matched, but not stuffy or overly formal and works well in this dining room. It would accent an area over a couch just as well.

A more informal and modern way to arrange your pictures would be to mix and match the sizes of your pictures and add other objects like mirrors or art pieces. The colors of the frames and even the pictures do not have to match exactly. However, they blend well with the other colors of items in the room, such as the wall color, rug and curtains. This same arrangement would work with different sizes of mirrors or different colors and types of artwork for an eclectic and interesting art gallery wall.

Open shelving is a great option for your walls. It allows you to add not only pictures, but ceramic pieces and collections of objects, such as this collection of framed butterflies. The objects and pictures can be changed for each season, allowing you many options for arranging things without creating more holes in the walls. The spacing between the shelves can be narrow or wide depending on what you want to display, and the shelves can be stacked directly above each other or staggered. Shelving is best hung in an area with little to no traffic, like over a piece of furniture.

Whatever your style of décor, there are hundreds of options in pictures, photos and wall décor you can add to your walls. The key is to keep it interesting but not overwhelming. Have fun with your wall décor to add more interest to your home. And consider something new or different; you might like how it turns out.

April 2024 • • 55

Discover the story of Parsons native Nelly Don, who became a global fashion icon 2nd Sunday Cinema screening in Joplin and Webb City

ell Quinlan Donnelly Reed, a global fashion trailblazer born and raised in Parsons, Kansas, around the dawn of the 20th century, is generating lots of regional excitement due to the feature film “Nelly Don the Musical Movie.” The film is set to grace the screens of the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex in Joplin, Missouri, and the historic Route 66 Theater in Webb City, Missouri, for one day only—April 14—at the 2nd Sunday Cinema screening.

Great Wonders Productions, a Joplin-based nonprofit cinematic arts organization, launched 2nd Sunday Cinema to showcase regional, independent films. The Nelly Don movie featured at the April show will include an audience Q&A by filmmaker Terence O’Malley, who is also the grandnephew of Nelly Don, and will include some Nelly Don dresses to view. This biopic has earned accolades from theaters and cinemagoers who have seen the movie in the Kansas City metro, where it has been playing for 24 weeks due to popular demand. It was the highest-grossing film in 2023 at one famous Kansas City-area theater.

O’Malley is an acclaimed author, historian, musician, attorney and filmmaker who brought his creative vision to life as the producer, director and lyricist in this extraordinary biopic set in the early 1900s. “I produced a book and documentary about Nelly Don in 2006 and was then inspired to do a musical. When it sold out in three days and the pandemic hit, I decided to make a feature film instead of relaunching the musical production,” said O’Malley.

The story seamlessly wove history, drama and music together by O’Malley, who drew from cherished childhood memories of his grandmother’s scrapbook filled with news clippings of Nelly Don’s triumphs in the fashion business, tumultuous kidnapping saga and the gripping rescue.

“The movie has its campy moments, but my collaboration with esteemed musical composer Daniel Doss propels the narrative through amazing scores and harmonies. The songs keep with the great American music tradition,” O’Malley added.

Nelly’s meteoric rise to fame stems from her revolutionary invention –the house dress – leading to a staggering 75 million global dress sales and establishing her among the first self-made female millionaires. Unlike the utilitarian, drab garments of the time, these dresses were not just fashionable; they were a source of empowerment for women, instilling confidence and a sense of self-worth.

The Nelly Don story extends beyond fashion, involving entanglements with a U.S. senator and a notorious mobster, and the poignant journey of adopting her biological child after the child was left in Europe to hide a scandalous secret. “Nelly Don the Musical Movie” promises to captivate audiences by portraying this remarkable woman’s life, played by Kansas City actress Julie Pope.

While the film is suitable for all audiences, parental guidance is advised due to mature themes and discussions surrounding suicide. This intriguing tale, rooted in the region, showcases the spirit and fortitude Nelly had to become a true fashion icon.

Information about the movie is at and tickets are available at second-sunday-cinema.

Donnettes with Nelly Don in scene making dresses out of Nell’s home, played by Brooke Myers as Beulah, Courtney Ellis as Kathryn, Kirsten Myers as Mildred, Kelsie Clark Massey as Hilda and Julie Pope as Nelly Don Courtesy: Nelly Don Theatrical LLC Filmmaker, director, historian and grandnephew of Nelly Don, Terence O’Malley.

One24 Boutique is located at 13105 Kodiak Rd. in Neosho, Missouri • 417.451.1144 • Follow on Facebook

Download their APP!

One24 Boutique offers Free Shipping Nationwide and is based in Neosho, MO. Live shows are offered daily at 12 p.m. & 4 p.m. in their free app or on their website. Over 50 New Styles are released every weekday!! They also have an outlet location offering 40% off all overstock pieces everyday!

Check them out and use code MAG15 for 15% off your next purchase!

April 2024 • • 57 Fashion Forward • One24 Boutique

Zena Suri Alpacas

35401 S. 580 Road • Jay, OK • 804.389.2579

It’s our 14th anniversary in Zena! Feed, pet and learn about our alpacas and Stiggy, the llama. Zena Suri Alpacas is open every day for tours ($5 per person) or shopping. Nightly cabin rental for two is available. Monthly yoga classes begin with Eclipse Special High Noon Gentle Yoga April 8 ($20). Enjoy a tour, light lunch, lawn games and yoga or blanket-sitting with our amazing alpacas. Call: 804.389.2579.

Wig’N Out Boutique

20 S. Main St. • Webb City, MO

417.717.5099 •

Did you know Wig’N Out has semi-permanent hairpieces you can swim and shower in? Call us to schedule your consultation with one of our stylists! At Wig’N Out, you’ll also find stylish clothing, shoes and accessories for every occasion. “We’ve got you covered from head to toe!” Stop in and see us today or shop with us online.

Extreme Sports Scuba

5203 S. Range Line Road • Joplin, MO 417.659.9009 •

Dive into adventure with Extreme Sports Scuba! Explore our newly remodeled store, featuring an expanded sales room and a fresh, new look. From top-of-the-line gear to expert guidance, we’ve got everything you need for your underwater excursions. Discover the thrill of scuba diving with us today! Come see us and like us on Facebook.

Magnolia & Sunshine

101 S. Washington St. • Neosho, MO 417.346.9353 •

Follow us on Facebook & IG

The Neosho square is a hidden gem for boutique shopping and dining. The historic charm of Magnolia & Sunshine’s location creates the perfect backdrop for a girl’s day! Offering elevated causal clothing, beautiful accessories, shoes and gifts. We can’t wait for you to experience it, too! Visit our boutique Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or online anytime.

58 Special Advertising Section

One 24 Outlet

13105 Kodiak Rd • Neosho, MO • 417.451.1144

Like us on Facebook! • Download our APP!!

One24 Boutique is a unique mother/daughter-teamed store that specializes in the unique. Located in Neosho, this small-town store has gifts, home decor, one-of-a-kind finds and FASHION!! The new “One24 Rags” clothing line was custom designed by the two ladies! Everything in the outlet is 40% off. A portion of all proceeds is donated each month to the KU Bladder Cancer Department to fund a research scholarship.

Courtney’s Candles and Creations

2029 S. Willard Ave. • Joplin, MO 417.624.1838 •

Get ready to kick winter out the door because spring is here, and the best way to welcome it is with a whiff of Courtney’s Candles! Whether you’re craving the zesty vibes of citrus or the calming vibes of lavender, Courtney’s collection turns your space into a springtime paradise. Swing by our store or hop online to explore the wonders of Woodwick, Tyler, Aromatique, Pura, Warmies, Capri Blue, Bridgewater and a whole bunch more! Your nose deserves a spring fling, too – embrace the scentsational journey!

April 2024 • • 59 Special Advertising Section

Body & Soul Transformation focuses on physical and spiritual health

As Daniel Wade began to reshape and remold himself, both individually and professionally, that life-changing experience led to opening Body & Soul Transformation 24-Hour Fitness Center & Personal Training facility a little more than two years ago.

“I have always had a passion for sports and fitness,” Wade says. “I began coaching sports directly after high school. So, my training career began with coaching young athletes in baseball, basketball and football. I always had a dream of owning a community center where youth could go after school to train and keep themselves out of trouble.

“In my mid-20s, fitness became more of an obsession. During this time, I also had an encounter with Jesus and realized that faith in Him was more than just religion. It was intended to be a relationship that needed nurturing and attentiveness.”

Wade admits, “I realized that I was spending more time in the gym than I was in the Bible. A couple of years later, through studying God’s Word, He convicted me that I needed to focus on my spiritual health and growth as much as I had been on my physical health.

“Specifically, 1

Timothy 4:8 reads:

‘For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.’ That is how the concept for Body & Soul Transformation came to life.

It’s not complicated and Wade rationalizes, “1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: ‘What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which you have of God and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your Spirit, which are God’s.’

“Through obedience to that call and intentional devotional time, I was transformed. The gym became my mission field, my ministry and my method to share God’s Word and truth with others.

“Then I realized that I could create a place where I could implement my two passions, faith and fitness, and share with others that for complete wholeness, we need not only the physical aspect but also the spiritual.”

“This passage reminds us that our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made by our Creator, and we can and should honor God by taking care of them and prioritizing physical wellness.” There are a variety of options as far as workouts for those who choose Body & Soul Transformation. Some of those include, “Body & Soul Pump, Zumba, Fit 4 Life and line dancing.


Body & Soul Transformation Fast Facts

Owner: Daniel Wade

Age: 40 years old

Hometown: Granby, Missouri

High School Alma Mater, Year

Graduated: East Newton High School, 2002

Certification: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist

Body & Soul Transformation Physical

Address: 1703 Falcon, Suite C, Webb City, MO 64870


Email Address: contact@

Membership Highlights: First month at no charge, free tanning, 24/7 facility access, kid’s zone, weekly Bible studies and instructions by certified personal trainer.

Features: Family friendly, 10,000-square-foot facility; gift shop featuring assorted merchandise, books and apparel;

“We have amazing instructors that take time to teach proper technique and exercise movements for safety but also make exercise enjoyable by motivating and encouraging. We also seek to make classes socially enjoyable, which allows people to come together who share similar fitness goals and ‘do life together.’

“We are not your typical gym. We have a wide variety of fitness solutions, including everything from kids and youth events to senior classes. We have something to offer everyone in the family.”

It’s clear Wade enjoys his work, and he says what makes it so invigorating is “the people I am able to meet and the lives I get to witness being transformed.”

“I’m able to merge my two passions, faith and fitness, helping and encouraging people, both physically and spiritually.”

beverage and supplement sales; turf area with speed, agility and quickness equipment; group fitness classes (Body Pump, Zumba, Step Class, Mobility, Dance Fitness, Line Dancing and High Intensity Interval Training); specialized personal training (weight loss, strength and endurance, speed/agility/quickness and balance, flexibility/mobility, etc.).

April 2024 • • 61

A beacon of hope

How the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center enriches quality of life for individuals with autism

Not long ago, Four States-Area residents had woefully limited access to autism services. Since its establishment in 2007, the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism in Joplin has evolved into a renowned facility by providing comprehensive services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

The center is named for the late Bill and Virginia Leffen, who generously donated a $3 million gift to fund the reconstruction of Ozark Center for Autism, which was destroyed by the May 22, 2011, Joplin tornado. In recognition of their generosity, Ozark Center for Autism was renamed in their honor.

Today, the center serves more than 300 clients per year through outpatient services, a year-round preschool and diagnostic evaluations by a dedicated team of professionals comprising pediatricians, psychologists and behavior analysts.

The center’s impact is evident through the progress of its young clients, who have shown significant improvements in communication, academics and daily living skills. With a focus on early intervention and individualized care, the center aims to enhance the quality of life for individuals with autism.

Most significantly, the Leffen Center is a source of hope – to clients, their families, caregivers, loved ones and friends. Families have come to us when they thought there was little hope after receiving their diagnosis, and they leave services with hope for a bright future.

The Leffen Center Experience

When it was established, the center collaborated with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group to offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, aiding children in achieving independence.

For example, our Day Treatment program provides a 1:1 treatment environment in which a child with autism meets daily with his or her registered behavior technician daily, or RBT. The RBT’s focus is identifying and mitigating the impact of autism on the child’s readiness for being in the classroom with their neurotypical peers. The goal is for the child to be a full participant in the educational experience of their nonautistic peers.

A day at the center looks much like that of a traditional school.

When children arrive each morning — via a typical school car drop-off line –they’re met at the curb by their RBT. As in traditional schools, the kids prepare for the day by stowing their backpacks and other belongings in their cubbies.

From the moment a child’s sneakers hit the sidewalk, the RBT is already working with him or her on treatment goals before taking those goals into the classroom to continue training. As children progress through the Leffen program, their classroom environments will look increasingly like the classrooms we’re targeting them to attend upon graduating from the center. Like preschool peers, students take breaks for snacks, lunch and playground time with their RBTs. Further enhancing their experience and treatment, the children participate in circle time and group learning at different points during the day. At the close of their school day, the children are escorted by their RBTs to the curb, where parents and caregivers await them in the pickup line.

Parents, meanwhile, are provided communication logs on their child’s progress as well as the specific behaviors exhibited or focused on that day.

Navigating the Challenges

Our future goals include the expansion of outpatient services for all ages, reducing waiting lists and offering increased opportunities for parent consultations. Through initiatives like the Freeman 5K and Walk for Autism Awareness, the center raises funds to support program development and scholarships.

The center’s commitment to evidence-based practices like ABA underscores its dedication to helping individuals with autism lead fulfilling lives. For families in Joplin and beyond, the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism stands as a beacon of hope and support for families navigating the challenges of autism spectrum disorders.

For more information on autism services, visit autism-services or call 417.347.7850.

Walk, Run and Roar is the theme for the 2024 Freeman 5K and Walk for Autism, set for Saturday, April 20, at the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism. Enjoy a fantastic day and support local children and families affected by autism by registering at FreemanFamily5k or call 417.347.7474.


Family Dental Associates guides individuals and families to their perfect smiles through exceptional dental care in Miami, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas. Led by Dr. Mark Folks and Dr. Matthew Keim, their team strives to make every patient feel valued and comfortable from their first appointment to when they leave with a brand-new smile.

Dr. Folks has practiced dentistry in the area since 2002. His renowned expertise and patient care have earned him membership in the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Oklahoma Dental Association. Dr. Folks has advanced training in orthodontics and implant dentistry, and his goal is to improve his patients’ quality of life with a beautiful, healthy smile.

our patients,” said Dr. Keim. “I enjoy being able to provide wonderful services to our community and patients while developing relationships and helping them accomplish their goals.”

“We take an approach with our patients of not only treating the teeth but also the oral facial region,” said Dr. Folks. “We are able to offer facial aesthetic services, with state-of-the-art therapies and treatments tailored for each patient.”

Dr. Keim began practicing dentistry in the area in 2003. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the Oklahoma University College of Dentistry. He stays up to date on the newest trends and technologies in the dental industry to provide the latest and greatest dental care for his patients. A certified member of the American Dental Association, Dr. Keim’s primary goal is to give his patients optimal oral health and a smile of which they feel proud.

“I’m proud to be surrounded by a group of individuals who work towards the same goal: caring about every aspect of

Both Dr. Folks and Dr. Keim are active in their community.

Dr. Folks and his wife have three sons. When he is not working, Dr. Folks enjoys OU sports, being outdoors and working his Angus/Hereford cattle operation.

Dr. Keim serves on the board for Community Crisis Center and Neosho Christian School and is active in his local church. He also enjoys spending time outdoors with his three children.

“I enjoy being able to provide wonderful services to our community and patients while developing relationships and helping them accomplish their goals.”

1816 N. Main St. • Miami, Oklahoma 918.238.0089

Family Dental Associates

Joplin, MO

Every day: Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings. Call 888.740.4568.

Every Monday: Tips for Living a Healthy Life, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., South YMCA, 3404 W. McIntosh Circle. Free; registration required. Call 417.625.2492.

Every Day: 12-Step Recovery Meetings, Alano Club, 1800 E. 30th St. Call 417.623.9645.

April 24: Grief Support Group meets fourth Wednesday of each month, 6-7:30 p.m., Hospice Compassus, 2216 E. 32nd St., Ste. 201. Call 417.623.8272.

Freeman Health System

Joplin, MO

All events are free and open to the public, unless noted; support group meetings are cancelled on days Joplin R-VIII Schools close due to inclement weather.

April 2: Espresso Yourself Breast Cancer Support Group, 5-6 p.m., Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, 506 S. Joplin Ave. Enjoy a coffee courtesy of Freeman Cornell-Beshore Cancer Institute. Our monthly breast cancer support group enables members to share, gain helpful information and useful tips, as well as form new friendships. Enjoy listening to a special guest from time to time. RSVP to Marcella Sowell at 417.347.2662.

April 10: Freeman Cancer Support Group, 2-3 p.m., Freeman Cornell-Beshore Cancer Institute, 3415 McIntosh Circle. Call Kelley Wheeler at 417.347.4000 for more information.

April 16: Freeman Bariatric Weight-loss Support Group, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Freeman Business Center Conference Rooms, 3220 McClelland Blvd (back entrance). Designed to help those who have had bariatric surgery. For more information, call Janice Drake at 417.347.1266.

April 16: Ozark Center Daytime Autism Support Group, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, 2808 S. Picher Ave. Open to people with autism, parents and caregivers. Call 417.347.7850 for more information.

April 20: Walk, Run & Roar Annual 1-Mile Walk for Autism and Freeman 5K, 8 a.m., Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, 2808 S. Picher Ave. Dinosaur-themed costumes encouraged. Members of the same team may participate in different events. All proceeds benefit program development and scholarship assistance at the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center

for Autism. Register at or call 417.347.7850 for more information.

National Adult Literacy Action - For information on NALA, call 417.782.2646, email or visit www. Located at 123 S. Main St., Joplin. Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Nevada, MO

April 6: Birth and Beyond Class, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meets at the NRMC Mezzanine Conference Room. This class covers childbirth, breastfeeding and infant care for women in their last trimester. Includes a tour of the NRMC OB when available. $15 registration fee. Fee may be waived if cost is prohibitive. Register by calling 417.448.3710.

April 23: Rich Hill Family Medical Clinic Screenings, 11 a.m.noon, Kern Senior Center. Free health screenings are offered every fourth Tuesday of the month to residents of Rich Hill.

Integris Baptist Regional Health Center, Grove, OK

INTEGRIS Baptist Regional Health Center - For more information, visit

Every Tuesday: Free blood pressure and glucose screenings provided by INTEGRIS Regency Home Care and Hospice. First Tuesday: Commerce Nutrition Center, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Second Tuesday: Nine Tribes Tower, 10-11 a.m. Third Tuesday: Miami Senior Center, 10-11 a.m. Fourth Tuesday: INTEGRIS Baptist Village, 9-10 a.m.

April 2: Alzheimer’s Support Group meets first Tuesday monthly, 11 a.m., Generations fourth floor visiting room. Call 918.542.3391.

April 9 & 23: Depression Support Group meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 2 p.m., Northeastern Tribal Health System Conference Room, 2301 Eight Tribes Trail. Call 918.675.2093.

Crisis Text Line Text 741741

Free 24/7 support for those in crisis to create a plan to stay safe and healthy.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code.


18th Annual Charity Classic Takes Place April 15

Annual golf tournament is also a step in recovery

Not only has the annual golf tournament fundraising event supported ASCENT Recovery Residences and now also The Recovery Outreach Community Center (The ROCC), it also is a step in the recovery process for residents of ASCENT.

The men from ASCENT are encouraged to participate in the annual golf tournament. Because it is a scramble, knowledge and skill aren’t as important. What the men in recovery get to do is work on a step in their recovery capital. Recovery capital is a term for the different things that hinder or help a person in recovery. Several areas of recovery capital include physical, cultural, human and social. Participating in the golf tournament allows the men in recovery to expand their social capital.

“They get to know people outside their recovery support groups,” Teddy Steen, executive director of ASCENT Recovery Residences, said. “They meet people they wouldn’t normally meet and build relationships. The sponsors like it because they get to see the guys look nice and talk well, and it gives them a different perspective.”

Building social capital is important for making connections

in the community, which can lead to jobs and opportunities. One thing Steen said might be helpful to the guys is they can say they played in the golf tournament. That could open many doors.

“I really like this event for building their social capital,” Steen said. “Some of the guys may have to borrow clubs, but this gives them a chance to meet the supporters.”

April 2024 • • 65

A Battle for the Ages


As the 54th annual Earth Day approaches (Monday, April 22), this year’s theme of Planet vs. Plastics reflects just how vital promoting environmental awareness continues to be for everyone and helps reinforce the importance of remaining diligent in looking for practical ways to help protect this precious place we all call home, all around the globe.

For anyone interested in finding out more about Earth Day, from the past to the present, while also looking ahead to the future, is packed full of information, including key details on this year’s initiative and much, much more.

Taking a closer look at this year’s theme, there’s a lofty goal for a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040, just 16 years from now, with an overall objective of building a plastic-free future for generations to come.

In achieving this 60% reduction,’s goals are:

1. Promoting widespread public awareness of the damage done by plastic to human, animal and all biodiversity’s health and demanding more research to be conducted on its health implications, including the release of all information regarding its effects to the public.

2. Rapidly phasing out all single-use plastics by 2030 and achieving this phase-out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024.

3. Demanding policies ending the scourge of fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses.


Earth Day Fast Facts

What: An annual event to help demonstrate support for the environment.

When: Monday, April 22.

History: First held April 22, 1970, it now includes wide-ranging events coordinated around the world by, including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.

Planting the Seeds: The history of Earth Day dates to 1970 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day to help raise public awareness about environmental issues and promote environmental activism. Since then, Earth Day has become a global event, with celebrations and events taking place in more than 193 countries. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in many ways, including community cleanup events, tree plantings and educational events. And it provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and governments to take action.

4. Investing in innovative technologies and materials to build a plasticfree world.

Kathleen Rogers, president of, explains best what makes this so pivotal in saying, “The word environment means what surrounds you. In the case of plastics, we have become the product itself – it flows through our blood stream, adheres to our internal organs and carries with it heavy metals known to cause cancer and disease.

“Now this once-thought amazing and useful product has become something else, and our health and that of all other living creatures hangs in the balance. The Planet vs. Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being upon our planet.”

A few of the more alarming trends:

1. More than 500 billion plastic bags – one million bags per minute – were produced worldwide last year. Many plastic bags have a

working life of a few minutes, followed by an afterlife of centuries. Even after plastics disintegrate, they remain as microplastics, minute particles permeating every niche of life on the planet.

2. 100 billion plastic beverage containers were sold last year in the United States. That’s more than 300 bottles per inhabitant. A few of them will be converted into park benches; none of them will be made into new plastic bottles and 95% of all plastics in the U.S. won’t be recycled at all. Even the 5% of plastics being recycled are downcycling to inferior products or shipped to poorer countries for recycling, leaving the demand for virgin plastic undiminished.

3. People seldom think of water when they think of plastics. But making a plastic water bottle requires six times as much water as the bottle itself contains.

To learn more about Planet vs. Plastics and join the movement for a plastic-free future, and to educate yourself on the impacts of plastic on human health, check out the Plastics Health Research Module and’s Earth Hub for all fact sheets, toolkits, press releases and articles.

April 2024 • • 67

The Great


An award-winning magazine and newspaper writer, radio host and blogger for more than 40 years.

His book, “Seasons: Stories of Family, God and the Great Outdoors,” is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle.

A woman with a BIG HEART

It is early morning at Roaring River State Park. The sun is beginning to peek through the forested hills. Annie is at the river’s edge, fishing rod in hand, waiting for the siren to sound so she can start fishing.

She visits with the men on both sides of her. Annie is the only woman to brave the cool morning. The fishermen and Annie talk about the weather. The rising sun reveals a beautiful fog rising from the water. The siren sounds. Annie’s lure is the first one to hit the water. Shortly, she brings a trout to her dip net. She puts it on a stringer and makes another cast.

A few turns of the reel handle and another trout takes her lure. This one is bigger and pulls the line from her reel. Annie shrieks with joy. After a few leaps out of the water, she scoops it up with her net. Annie admires its beauty, puts it on the stringer and makes another cast. In an hour or so, she has her daily limit.

Several other fishermen, who were not quite as successful, congratulate her. One of them asks what kind of lure she used. She looks at him and says, “Honey, it’s not the lure catching the fish. It is this old woman using it.” She laughs, wishes them


luck and heads for her car to put her fish in her cooler. She looks up and thanks God for this time in the outdoors.

Looking back at the river, she sees an eagle perched in a tree across from where she fished. She remembers her favorite Bible verse: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” She looks back at the eagle and thinks, “God sent an eagle today!”

When she gets home, she cannot forget about the eagle, so she sits down to read about eagles. One of the things she read was that Native American Indians believe an eagle delivers their prayers to the Great Spirit. They hold an eagle feather aloft as a custom while saying a prayer. To them, the eagle means strength, wisdom and courage. Annie needed all of that throughout her life. Don’t we all?

Annie grew up loving the great outdoors. She was born in San Mateo, California. Her dad was an avid hunter and fisherman. Her mom also enjoyed fishing. Annie loved it when they would travel north to see her grandparents. Yosemite National Park was just five miles from where they lived. The waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoias were a big part of her young life. Annie gives all the credit to her parents and grandparents for her love of the outdoors.

Annie was nine when her dad was transferred to Kansas City, Missouri. They bought a home at Lake Waukomis, a town with a great fishing lake. That continued to fuel her love for fishing.

During summers, they traveled to Lebanon, Missouri, to visit her Grandma Effie. Like most of her family, she was outdoorsy and still fished. Her Uncle Dale lived next to Grandma. He loved fly fishing and took Annie along with him.

Later in life, Annie married her husband, Bob, and moved to Washington state. They traveled a lot together. He passed away, but Annie won’t talk about that. After all those years, it still hurts too much. Annie says, “I was blessed to have a strong father and a strong husband who said I could do anything, and through God, I can.”

Annie eventually remarried to another man named Bob. He also loved to fish. They lived in Warsaw, Missouri, in a lakefront home on Lake of the Ozarks for 28 years.

After he passed away, she never remarried. When her dad passed away, she moved to Springfield, Missouri, to take care of her mom. “With God, we can do anything,” says Annie. “He put us here to help one another.”

She has an unconditional love for her dog that rules her life. Callie is someone’s throwaway dog. Her compassion is not just for her dog. One year, Annie also took in a lady who was a throwaway. We will never know how many people Annie has helped.

Not one to sit around, Annie does not accept growing old. In less than a year, she walked over 3,006,000 steps, enjoying nature as she did so. Like she tells people, “You have to stay active, mind and body. If not, you rot. You have to enjoy what God gives you. The fresh air in the outdoors has helped keep me well.”

One Sunday morning at church, Annie tells a few friends she is leaving the next day to go to Florida for a few days. She tells them she is going so she can walk a particular beach on her birthday looking for seashells.

One of the men tells Annie his wife loved that beach. He and his family left some of her ashes there. He tells Annie to say hi to her for him. As Annie cries, she says she will, and she will also bring him back a seashell from that beach.

One of her friends calls her to check on her a few days later. She says


“A strong woman is like an eagle. Against the strong winds, she soars.”
– Gugu Mona

she is enjoying herself but is not finding any seashells. While eating lunch at a restaurant before heading home on her last day there, she visits with another woman. In their conversation, Annie tells her she can’t find any seashells and why she wants to find one to take home for her friend. The woman says to go to a particular place on the beach. There, she will find what she is looking for.

After lunch, she goes where the lady told her. She walks and walks but still cannot find any seashells. She is about to give up and head home when something catches her eye. It’s a kelp seed pod shaped like a heart. Annie picks it up and cries as she looks toward heaven. She talks to the man’s wife. Annie tells her he is a good man and he misses her. Annie finds what she is looking for where the woman told her she would. She wonders if the woman is an angel sent by God.

The Sunday after arriving home, she goes to church and sees her friends. Annie tells them her story. While crying, she puts the heartshaped seed pod in the man’s hand. A tear runs down his cheek. Those blessed to know Annie and call her a friend will tell you Annie has a heart as big as the outdoors she loves. Annie is a woman with a big heart.

April 2024 • • 69


Idon’t know of a month that moves faster than April. This stretch of days may have bare forest floor and prairies with dry grass at the beginning of the month. But by midApril, flora color is popping on the glades and continues in woodlands with blues, greens, yellows and orange. These colors will soon match our arriving feathered wildlife. Our local songbirds are setting up territory and vocalizing constantly. Birders (birdwatchers) are now in full throttle to witness avian behavior and see new migratory birds arriving almost daily.

As mentioned in the last issue of A Naturalist Voice, we want to embrace and assist those who have the naturalist learning style, or simply are a naturalist at heart and hobby. The very same way we may learn our

native wildflowers, we will take on the active birdlife of the Ozarks. We should remind ourselves to not get overwhelmed or impatient with the sheer numbers but approach them with personal experience one by one. April and May will hold the highest number of bird species for our area. Our natural areas will still have winter residents who have not migrated to Canada’s boreal forest or tundra. We have our yearround resident feathered friends, and they are joined by neotropical migratory birds who nest here and winter in Latin America.

The neotropical migratory birds are fascinating, and half of Missouri’s birds are neotropicals. We also have some that use Missouri as a stopover for several days but continue to northern states or Canada to breed and then return to Central or South America. Different species have varied arrival periods and seek niche habitat. Some of the best known are the ruby-throated hummingbird, indigo bunting and orioles. However, a beginning birder should journey through a birding field guide like Sibley, Peterson, Golden or others with illustrations (not photos) to see the diversity of vireos, flycatchers or warblers, just to widen the eyes and imagination. All this bird traffic comes from habitats far away and in the Show Me The Ozarks region, they may share habitats with our blue jays and flying squirrels. But just weeks ago, they might have harmonized with howler monkeys, dined off foliage next to a sloth or bathed in a puddle by a jaguar’s footprint.

Field notes by J. Cantrell. Photos by Eric Wilhoit.

Missouri’s connection to the tropics is real and is just one more thing to get excited about Missouri’s natural history.

Birding is for everyone! It’s not just for kids or retirement. Wildlife viewing is behind gardening as the most popular and fastest-growing outdoor-related activity. Young adults, especially the 18-34-year-olds, are taking up the hobby and supporting citizen science through ebird. org and other avenues to document bird accounts and populations.

Start birding slow, don’t be discouraged and take in the discovery one at a time. If using binoculars is new to you, feel free to drop by Shoal Creek Conservation Nature Center to get advice and even look through a pair. Remember to keep your eye on the subject and bring the optics up to your eye. That way if you have the beautiful yellow-throated vireo, for example, in sight at the nature center, by keeping your eye on the bird, you don’t lose it when you bring the bird in focus.

Enjoy the events of spring. If you have questions of these wonders, please drop by our nature centers in Joplin or Springfield. Check out support materials for conservation and the resources at the Wildcat Nature Store.

If you have any questions on birding as a recreation or where to bird, feel free to drop me a line. And I’d like to say special thanks to fellow birder and nature photographer Eric Wilhoit for letting me use some of his pictures for magazine and Missouri Stream Team outreach! I hope to see you all on the trail. – Jeff Jeff Cantrell is a local naturalist and Missouri Stream Team Biologist. He covers the Ozarks and Southwest Region, MO Department of Conservation, Relevancy Branch. Contact: Jeff. and MO Stream Team info at

April 2024 • • 71

RICE: Full of carbs, full of calories

Rice often gets associated with health foods. Whenever an actor has to put on muscle, it’s common for them to cite rice as a food they eat constantly. Because of this, it’s easy to think of rice as a health food, one of those coveted foods you can’t eat enough of. The truth of the matter is there are pros to rice and there are cons, and different health needs want different amounts of rice.

As always, no one is as responsible for your health as you are. Always make sure you consult a doctor or nutritionist before making major changes to your diet.

What are some of the downsides of rice? It’s calorically very dense. In many diets, you’re going to want to make rice a side dish. Eating rice dishes regularly will require you to be very active to help burn off all the extra calories you’re eating. While it varies by the type of rice you’re eating, you’ll probably be looking at 100 calories in half a cup of cooked rice, at least.

Is there a large difference between different types of rice? Absolutely! While you have probably heard of white rice versus brown rice, there are many different types of rice you might have to shop around for to find. Each different type of rice has its own nutritional makeup, and there isn’t really a good way to give a good breakdown. For example, brown rice has a lot of fiber in it, so it ultimately has fewer net carbs, but if you’re on a diet that’s concerned with net carbs, you probably aren’t eating rice anyway.

What are the benefits of rice? Well, they’re a great source of carbs, and as long as you aren’t on a keto or carnivore diet, having a small helping of rice is a great way to get a good energy boost with very little food. While rice is calorically dense, you don’t have to eat very much of it to get the nutritional benefit from it. Carbs help prevent muscle loss and promote muscle recovery, so a small bowl with some veggies or a small rice bed with protein is a great way to sneak in some carbs without going overboard. While most people do want to avoid the additional calories, if you are happy with your weight and want to build muscle, rice becomes a pretty efficient way to increase your caloric intake. Rice has its place, and this is in no way a condemnation of it. It goes in many styles of meals and when portioned correctly can give you a good boost of energy for very little actual food.

As always, ensuring your food fits in with your health plan is important, and there are times when rice just doesn’t make the cut.

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