Show Me The Ozarks - February 2023

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For the Love of our Towns | Singles in the City Ultimate Wedding Features | Health Professionals February 2023 • Volume 22 • Issue 6

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February 2023 • • 1
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For The Love of Our Towns

Our home towns embrace the best people and businesses in the Four States! Take a look at the strong businesses, the creative, hardworking people, and the vibrant history that make up our communities. Go ahead – you’ll feel right at home!

46 Grove, OK - Living the Grand Life Provides Fun, Excitement in Grove

48 Grove, OK - Har-Ber Village Museum Has Strong ‘History’ with Grove








features SMTO contents February 2023 For The Love of Our Towns 30 Joplin - Celebrating 25 Years of Love from Ronald McDonald House 32 Joplin - First Community Bank; Thrilled To Be Part of Joplin Community 34 Webb City - A Community with Heart 36 Carl Junction - Joshua Howard is Happy to Live, Work in Carl Junction 38 Carthage - Experience Carthage 39 Carthage - Payam Sharifi provides Carthage with food, fun at Kascade Steakhouse 40 Neosho - Construction Services Group, A ‘Family-First’ Company 42 Pittsburg, KS - Talk a Walk on the Awe-Inspiring Side Through PSU Walking Tour 44 Lamar - Plaza Theatre, Barco Drive-In Provide Entertainment in Lamar
Monett - HHR Contractors Owner Thad Hood Loves All Monett Has to Offer
Aurora - Where All Roads Lead Home Every Day Love/Wedding Section
54 Singles in the City
Dating the Second Time Around
in Heaven
Steve & Cindy Head - Reflect
a Marriage Made
Love in the Workplace: Eric & Kellie Gerner
Love in the Workplace: Brian & Megan Reavley
Kevin & Emily Ryans - A Perfect Match, A Perfect Wedding
& Services
the Cover 64 30 97 70 54
72 Ultimate Wedding Destinations

Your heart will be content to spend time and have fun in the Four-State Area in February!

88 Health Professionals

92 Knowing Your Heart Risk Factors

93 Health Events

94 Why We Ride: For The Love of Riding

97 Recipe: Bacon, Apple, Raspberry

Vinaigrette Salad

98 Ascent Recovery: Grant Will Help

Establish Recovery-Friendly Workplaces

99 Fit for Life - Cheese It! Snacking for Nutrition

16 February Performance to Love

19 Show Me Carl Junction

20 Joplin Arts District

26 Fashion Forward - One24 Boutique

27 Things We Love

62 The Creative Edge: Jane McCaulley

75 Men in Business

78 Honoring Our Local Presidents

February 2023 • • 7 in every edition Can you find it? Find the GREEN smiley face on one of our pages. Email sue@ 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! health other great reads $41.99 - three years $32.99 - two years $19.99 - one year Name: Address: Form of payment: Check Credit Card Card Number: Name on Card: Card Expiration: / Mail this form with your check, money order or credit card info to: Show Me The Ozarks, PO Box 950, Neosho, MO 64850 Subscription Form Subscribe today! Call 417.455.9898 to place your subscription over the phone by credit card. Don’t miss a single edition of the magazine that has all of the region talking! The Ozarks Magazine Since 2001 WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE OZARKS 12 This month, you’ll love making Valentine’s crafts and home décor at our local art workshops. And if you love the outdoors, you’ll find many ways to get your heart beating. Take a cold dip in a local Polar Plunge, spot owls on a hike at our local trails, and learn all about cleaning and snagging fish.
14 Cultural Arts and Entertainment
18 Northeast Oklahoma Events Home/Lifestyle
21 Tastes of the Four States - Just A Taste 22 Show Me Dining Guide
82 Your House ... Your HomeTop 10 Tips You Need When Building & Remodeling
100 The Great Outdoors - How to Enjoy February
102 A Naturalist Voice - February is For Housekeeping
For Life
in Love With
104 Your Realtor
- Winning the House You Fall
Congratulations to Danny Reeves, the winner of the January edition “Find the Green Smiley Face” contest. Danny wins two gift certificates to McAlister’s Deli in Joplin, MO. The Green Smiley was on page 71 in the bottom photo of the bowl with green lettuce.

The Ozarks Magazine Since 2001



Lee Radcliff


Sue Dillmon


Wendy Brunner

Kathleen Swift


Kelley Talent

Kristi Tucker


Cheryl Franklin


Jamie Emery


Holly Hukill

Jeff Cantrell

Kathleen Swift

Don Lowe

Larry Whiteley

Bridget Bauer

Gary Stubblefield

Amy Howe

Ann Leach

Allison Lee Riechman-Bennett

Kristi Spencer


Amy Howe

Mandy Edmonson

Ashley Caughorn


Shelby Cagle / Gary and Desma Sisco

Show Me The Ozarks Magazine is published monthly by Show Me Communications, PO Box 3325, Joplin, MO 64803. Copyright 2022 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. Editor photo by Hannah Sanderson Photography.

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February 2023 • • 9

Automatic payments

Things We Love ...

February is the month of love. Be prepared to fall even more in love with our region. Arts. Whether it is learning or performing, our region cultivates the appreciation of art. In this edition, you will find all the information you need to sign up for a class, appreciate the work of others or attend a live performance. In our Performances to Love feature, Connect 2 Culture is hosting live performances, including a pianist, an inspirational act to inspire children and adults to appreciate individuality and youth, and the renowned production of Pride and Prejudice. Art stimulates thought, inspires growth and feeds the soul. We love the art in our region.

Ronald McDonald House. 3,477 families. 38 states. Two foreign countries. Those numbers do not begin to quantify the impact Ronald McDonald House of the Four States has had on our communities. Their heart and reach go beyond numbers. On page 31, we honor Ronald McDonald House’s 25 years of service by sharing stories of impact by families right here at home. We love Ronald McDonald House.

Communities. The definition of community is a group of people living together with a feeling of fellowship and common attitudes, interests and goals. We have featured 18 pages and nine communities dedicated to connection, reaching others and growth. We celebrate the work, the service and the unique characteristics of each of these towns. We share their attitudes, their interests and their goals. We love our communities.

Love. It is in the air. From our Singles in the City, dating advice or love stories, we are here to warm your heart. February is all things red, pink and hearts, and these feature stories will inspire you to either take a chance on love or remind you to show that special person just how special they are to you. We love LOVE.

Advertisers. For over two decades, our advertisers have trusted us as a resource to grow their business. Our pages are filled with the best local business owners in our region. They are dedicated to us, their customer and their community, and we are dedicated to our advertisers. Let’s appreciate their dedication by supporting our local business owners as we plan dinner, buy gifts and plan events to celebrate love this month. We love our advertisers. You. Our readers. We would not be here if not for you. Thank you for continuing to turn to us to be your go-to when celebrating the art, culture and lifestyle of our region. Keep telling us what you want to see and read each month. We love our readers.

We love the month of love. Go relish in love and be free and open with love to others. After all, is there a better time?

Don’t worry about missing a payment. Take advantage of Liberty’s free automatic payment program so you can concentrate on the things that matter most to you.
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February 2023 • • 11
February 10th,11th,13th, & 14th

What’s Happening Calendar of Events SMTO

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.

Pittsburg, KS

Wednesdays: Trivia Night, 7 p.m., Drop the H Brewing Company, 107 E. Rose St.

Thursdays: Thursday Night Line Dance Lessons, 7-9 p.m., Dirty Mule Restaurant Bar & Event Center, 134 S. US 69.

First Friday of the Month: Heavy metal bands, live music, 9 p.m., Dirty Mule Restaurant Bar & Event Center, 134 S. US 69.

Second Friday of the Month: Drag Shows, 10 p.m., Dirty Mule Restaurant Bar & Event Center, 134 S. US 69.

Last Friday of the Month: College Night w/ DJ A Baby, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Free admission with college ID. Dirty Mule Restaurant Bar & Event Center, 134 S. US 69.

February 3: Zane Grimes, Kansas Crossing Casino, 8 p.m., 1275 US69.

February 4: Paralandra, Kansas Crossing Casino, 8 p.m., 1275 US-69.

February 7, 14, 21 & 28: Cornhole League, 6-9 p.m., Lincoln Center, 710 W. 9th St. Every Thursday for eight weeks. Registration fee $30. To sign up or learn about other activities, call the Pittsburg Parks & Recreation Department at 620.231.8310.

February 11: Pittsburg Polar Plunge, 11:30 a.m., Crimson Villas, 1904 S. Rose St.

February 11: Midnight Rodeo, 8 p.m., Kansas Crossing Casino, 1275 US-69.

February 17: Solo & Chamber Music Series: Calidore String Quartet, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Pittsburg State University, 1701 South Broadway. Contact Susan Marchant at 620.235.4466.

February 24: Slaughter, 8 p.m., Kansas Crossing Casino, 1275 US-69.

February 23-26: Pitt State Theatre: Emilia, 7:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 2 p.m., Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, 1711 S. Homer St. Emilia Bassano was a trailblazer 400 years ago, but her story is almost completely lost to history. Join us to see why her story continues to be important then and now. For mature audiences. Call 620.235.4714.

ArtForms Gallery Workshops, 620 N. Broadway, Pittsburg, KS. 620.240.0165. Check our Facebook page during the month as artists may offer popups.

Every Tuesday: Art Exploration/Weekly Beginning Painting, 12:302:30 p.m. Free. Explore different art techniques. Feel free to bring something you are working on.

February 5: Valentine Paper Wreath, 2-4 p.m. Whether you’re planning a romantic date night or you just want to stay in to watch rom/com movies on the couch, you’ll need some Valentine’s Day decorations to set the mood. In this workshop, we will make a rosy, cheery and elegant paper heart wreath. All supplies will be available. $25 for one wreath; $45 for two wreaths. Class max: 12; ages: 7 years and older.

February 7: Oil Pastel Landscape, 6-8 p.m. We will paint a small landscape on a wood board using a different technique for oil pastels. If

you have favorite supplies you want to use, bring them or we will have everything you need. Cost $35, due at time of registration. Class limit: 6; ages: 14 and older.

February 11: Swipe and Spin Heart, 2-4 p.m. In this fluid art workshop, we will swipe and spin our canvas to create a heart. Cost $35, due at time of registration. Ages: 14 and older. Class size: 10 participants.

February 12: Heart Watercolor Cards, 1-3 p.m. Paint heart watercolor cards just in time for Valentine’s Day. All supplies included, along with your own watercolor set to keep. Cost $35, due at time of registration. Ages 10 and up. Class limited to 12 people.

February 14: Textured Abstract Landscape Painting, 6-8 p.m. This is a fun palette knife, acrylic and finger painting landscape. We will use drywall putty for texture and copper leaf to give it some sparkle. Bring your own tools if you have favorites, but we will have everything you need. Cost $35. Ages: 14 and older. Class limit: 63.

February 25: Fused Glass Suncatchers, 1-3:30 p.m. Design a fused glass suncatcher to grace your window or someone else’s. You will begin with a clear 4” x 8” base glass and use basic glass-cutting skills to decorate. Instruction is provided. All glass, tools and kiln firing are included in the workshop fee of $35, due at time of registration. Ages: 14 and older. Class size: 10 participants.

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

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

February 4: Carl Junction Lions Breakfast, 8-11 a.m., CJ Community Center. Cost: Adults, $6; children under 6, $3. Call 417.439.7724.

Carthage, MO

February 4: All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast, 9-11 a.m., Carthage Shrine Club. Public welcome. $7 per person. Call 417.317.0609.

Diamond, MO - George Washington Carver National Monument Visitor Center Free Programs. Two miles west of Diamond on Highway V, then 1/4 mile south on Carver Road. Visitor center and park grounds open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 417.325.4151 or visit www.nps. gov/gwca. *Programs will be presented outside on the park grounds.

February 4 & 5: African American Trailblazers, 1 p.m. Talk with a park ranger and explore contributions made by African American trailblazers and discover their pioneering achievements.

February 11: Wonders of the Night Sky, 6-8 p.m. Learn about celestial navigation, star stories and the effects of light pollution. This program includes an outside constellation tour. Cancelled in inclement weather.

February 12: Interracial Understanding, 1 p.m. Join a park ranger to discuss George Washington Carver’s rise to fame and his efforts for interracial understanding after his 1921 appearance before the United States House Ways and Means Committee.

February 16: Coffee with Carver, 10 a.m. George Washington Carver had a passion for art and believed his creations were expressions of his soul. See images of his artwork that he used to convey a sense of serenity and personal rejuvenation. Following this presentation, volunteer artist Stacy will lead a wool felting workshop.

February 18 & 19: Laboratory Demonstrations, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Discover how George Washington Carver used some often-overlooked plants to change the way we think about agriculture.

February 25 & 26: Film: Underground Railroad, The William Still Story, 1 p.m. This Public Broadcasting Service film explores the life of William Still, an unheralded hero of the Underground Railroad. His notes provide some of the best evidence of the workings of that network to freedom.


Joplin, MO

Saturdays: Joplin Empire Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Joplin Empire Market, 931 E. 4th St. The Joplin Empire Market is the place to find the best in locally grown produce, gourmet foodstuffs and handmade artisan goods. Curbside ordering also available, and orders may be placed Tuesday at 8 p.m., until Thursday at 8 p.m., at Curbside pickup hours are Saturday 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. More information: ivy@

February 3: The Woman’s Club of Joplin Club Day, noon, Twin Hills Golf and Country Club. Lunch followed by a fashion show presented by Branden Clark with Blue Moon Boutique. For more information or for reservations, call or text 417.483.6336.

Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center, 201 West Riviera Drive, Joplin, MO. The Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center is 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 for upcoming events. Parking lot, grounds and trail are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

February 1: Virtual: Fish Cleaning: Equipment, 2:30 p.m. Registration required; ages 10 and up. Soon, the weather will turn warm and spring fishing season will be in full force. Now is the time to brush up on those fish-cleaning skills. We are starting a three-part session on fish cleaning. In this session, we will focus on different equipment that will make cleaning fish easier and where to find them.

February 4: Short-eared Owl Hike, 4:30 p.m., Shawnee Trail Conservation Area. Registration required; ages: 12 and up. Winter in Missouri means short-eared owls may be seen flying low over native grasslands in search of mice, rabbits and other small mammals. Join us to discover more about these uncommon winter residents. Bring the family and dress for the weather for this easy-rated hike.

February 8: Virtual: Fish Cleaning: Scaled Fish, 2:30 p.m. Registration required; ages 10 and up. Brush up on those fishcleaning skills. This session will focus on cleaning scaled fish like crappie, bass and perch. We will look at some of the common equipment needed and common methods of cleaning these fish.

February 10: Owl Prowl, 6:30 p.m., Walter Woods Conservation Area. Registration required; ages: Families. Nesting season comes early for owls, and they’re already hooting in anticipation. Join us to learn about the five senses of owls and take a short walk or prowl to listen for Missouri owls.

February 11: Nature Board Game Event, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., no registration required. Ages: Families. Why not combine two passions and join us to play nature-themed board games. Whether a beginner or avid player of tabletop games, we will have a variety to play for all skill levels and ages. Stop by the center to learn about nature through board games.

February 15: Virtual: Fish Cleaning: Skinned Fish, 2:30 p.m., registration required. Ages: 10 and up. Brush up on those fishcleaning skills. This session will focus on cleaning skinned fish with an emphasis on catfish. We will look at some of the common equipment needed and common methods of cleaning these fish.

February 17: Little Acorns: Calling All Owls, 10:30 a.m., registration required. Recommended for ages 3 to 7. Who-o-o-o hoots when it gets dark? Who-o-o-o goes out for food at night? Is it a wise old owl? Bring your children during daylight hours to learn about owls.

February 18: Bluebird Basics Workshop, 1 p.m., registration required. Ages: Families. Now is the time to welcome our state bird to begin nesting. Bring your family to learn more about being landlords for this beautiful bird and to put together your own bluebird nesting box (one box per family). Each family must make their own reservation. Bring an electric screwdriver or drill with a Phillips head drill bit if you have one. Note: Bluebirds typically nest in urban or rural areas that are not heavily wooded.

February 22: Virtual: Snagging Fish, 2:30 p.m., registration required. Ages: 10 and up. Snagging season is just around the corner. Now is the time to learn about the different gear you will need to snag/grab some of our non-game fish. We will discuss rods, reels, lines, hooks and other gear to help make a successful outing, whether you catch fish or not.

Webb City, MO

Saturdays: Webb City Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-noon. Farm fresh produce, baked goods, herbs, jams and jellies, humanely raised meats and so much more can be found at the Webb City Farmers Market. Information: 417.438.5833.

February 3: First Friday, 7-10 p.m., Just a Taste, presented by Vintage Swing Movement. Swing dance lessons, 7 p.m.; live jazz and dancing, 8-10 p.m.; band this month is JOMO Jazz. Feel free to try out your new moves and/or kick back and relax to some sweet tunes and delicious cocktails. Adult: $8 in advance, $10 at the door; student: $5. Call 417.673.1154.

Wildcat Glades Friends Group, 201 Riviera Dr., Joplin, Missouri. All programs are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, please email or visit our Facebook page for online registration options. Classes are limited to the first 20 students registered for preschool and yoga classes.

February 8 & 10: Preschool Program: Snowy Valentine, February 8, 10-11 a.m.; February 11, 1-2 p.m., Wildcat Glades Education Cottage. Free; for ages 3-7. Valentine’s Day is near, and we have the perfect story as Bunny finds a gift for his loved one. Join us as we will have a story, a song and a craft for our loved one. Must preregister. Please do so by visiting our Facebook page or by emailing

February 11: Yoga in Nature-Adults, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Ages 12+. This class is designed to incorporate elements of nature, breathing and yoga poses. Bring your yoga mat or a towel and a reusable water bottle. $10 to attend. You must pre-register by visiting our Facebook page or emailing

February 11: Yoga in Nature for Kids, 10:30 a.m., free. Ages 4 and up accompanied by an adult. Bring your yoga mat or a towel and a reusable water bottle. Must pre-register. Please sign up by following the instructions on our Facebook page or email maddie@

February 20: Nature Explorers: Raccoons, 1-2 p.m., free; for ages 7-14. Raccoons are one of those can’t-miss mammals that have a lot of strange behaviors. Though they are common and well-known, there are many things about raccoons that would surprise you. Join us to learn all about these critters. You must pre-register by visiting our Facebook page or by emailing

February 28: Adult Program: Natural Décor: Succulents You Won’t Need to Water, 6-8 p.m., ages 13 and up. Are you someone who can’t seem to keep even a cactus alive? Well, this is the class for you! It will involve painting, cutting and gluing and will be a 2-hour class. Adults only; limited to 10 individuals. Cost: $10/person. You must pre-register by visiting our Facebook page or by emailing

February 2023 • • 13

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Carthage, MO

February 3-5: Don’t Drink the Water, 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m., Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre, 2466 Old 66 Blvd. This play takes place inside an American embassy behind the Iron Curtain. Reservations required; call 417.358.9665 or email Tickets: adults $29, seniors (55+) $26, students $24, youth $23, children (6-12) $12, children (0-5) free. Info:, 417.358.9665.

February 3-March 18: artCentral Carthage presents “FOILED AGAIN!”, 6-8 p.m.; 1110 E. 13th St. A mixed media juried exhibition featuring the original creations of members of the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition.

February 3: Opening Reception: FOILED AGAIN! by Joplin Regional Artists Coalition, 6-8 p.m., artCentral Carthage, 1110 E. 13th St. Meet the artists behind each piece of artwork during this come-and-go reception. Free; donations appreciated. Info:, 417.358.4404.

Joplin, MO


February 10: Steven Spooner, 7 p.m. Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. 7th St. Reservations recommended; call 417.501.5550 or visit Free. Info: info@

February 13 & 14: Eddie 9V House Concert (ages 10+), 7 p.m., The Coda Concert House, 2120 E. 24th St. A suggested, minimum donation of $30. For reservations, email In response to reservations, a confirmation email with the address, directions, parking, etc., will be sent. All proceeds benefit the artist performing. Info:

February 14: The Secret Agency, 6 p.m., Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. 7th St. Purchase tickets at, 417.501.5550 or at the Cornell Complex Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets: $15-$20. Info:

February 16: Trio con Brio Copenhagen, 7 p.m., Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. 7th St. Free. Info:, 417.625.1822.

February 16-19 & 23-26: Tom Sawyer, 7 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 p.m., Stained Glass Theatre Joplin, 2101 Annie Baxter Ave. The quintessential tribute to American youth, its imagination and its ingenuity. Tickets at Tickets: adults $10, children (ages 4-14) $5, children ages 3 and under admitted free. Info:

February 22: Aquila Theatre in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, 7 p.m., Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall, 212 W. 7th St. Tickets may be purchased at, 417.501.5550 or at Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets: $30-$35. Info:


Through June 1, 2023: Iconic Joplin (ages 12-16). Joplin’s 150th birthday celebration, Iconic Joplin, challenges teams of teens to work together to research, design and build Joplin landmarks – in their past, present or future states – out of LEGO bricks! Teams were announced December 1, and each will receive support from local STEM professionals and historians. Winners announced June 2023. Free. Info:, 417.825.3395.

February 2: Children’s Chess Club (ages 5-12), 5:30-6 p.m., Joplin Public Library. Children of all skill levels are invited to learn and play chess with the JPL Children’s Department and the Joplin Area Chess Club. Free. Info: cmatekel@, 417.623.2184.

February 4: Saturday STEM Club (ages 5-12), 1-2 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Explore high- and low-tech STEAM activities in this hands-on, child-led program! Free. Info:, 417.623.2184.

February: 5, 12, 19 & 26: Open Mic Comedy Night, 9 p.m., Blackthorn Pizza & Pub. 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. Free., 417.540.9186.

February 7: Tuesday Knight Chess (ages 11-18), 6-7:30 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Teens in grades 6-12 with basic knowledge of and experience playing chess. Free. Info:, 417.623.7953 x1027.

February 7: Chat & Craft (ages 18+), 6-8 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Whether you crochet, knit, stitch, draw or paint, bring your current project and chat with others. Free. Info:, 417.623.7953 x1030.

February 7: The Killer, 7 p.m., MSSU Cornell Auditorium, 3950 E. Newman Rd. Classic films chosen by various faculty members. Free. Info:, 417.625.9736.

February 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 & 23: Read and Play Preschool Hour (ages 3-5), 9:30 & 10:30 a.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Preschool story time. Free. Info:, 417.623.2184.

February 9: Artist Talk with Jamie Bates Slone, 6 p.m., MSSU Spiva Art Gallery, 3950 E. Newman Rd. Hear firsthand about Slone’s artistic process and how her artwork is a cathartic self-portrait of her mental well-being, which she previously felt compelled to hide. Free. Info:, 417.625.9563.

February 9: Joplin Writers’ Guild, 6 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Members have published novels, nonfiction books and articles. Dues $10 for the year, but anyone interested can attend their first meeting free. Info:, 417.691.0480.

February 9: Tiny Art Night (ages 13+), 6 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Paint on tiny art canvases and, at the end of the night, leave one of your masterpieces behind to be temporarily displayed in the library. All supplies provided. No registration required. Free. Info:, 417.623.7953 x1030.

February 9: Opening Reception: “Wake” by Jamie Bates Slone, 7 p.m., MSSU Spiva Art Gallery, 3950 E. Newman Rd. See the sculptures featured in MSSU Spiva Art Gallery’s latest exhibit, “Wake”, and meet the artist during this come-and-go reception. Free. Info:, 417.625.9563.

February 10, 17 & 24: Read and Play Toddler (ages 0-2), 9:30 & 10:30 a.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Join the Joplin Public Library’s Children’s Department for toddler story time Friday mornings to sing, read, talk and play together. Free. Info:, 417.623.2184.

February 11: Black History Fair, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Annual Black History Fair. All ages. Free. Info: cmatekel@, 417.623.7953 x1038.

February 11: Women and Girls in STEAM, 1-2 p.m., CLA Creativity Lab, 905 S. Main St. The Women in Science Club of Missouri Southern State University and the Creative Learning Alliance will explore the contributions and importance of women in STEAM with hands-on exhibits and experiments. Registration required; visit to register. Cost: $5. Contact neely@

February 14: Young Artists Club (ages 8-12), 4-5 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Explore various artists, art styles and techniques during Joplin Public Library’s Young Artists Club. Registration required: 417.623.7953 or Free. Contact, 417.623.2184.

February 18: Lego Build-a-Thon (ages 4-12), 1-2 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Collaborate, build and explore your creative side during this Lego builda-thon! Free. Info:, 417.623.2184.

February 18: Anime/Manga Club (ages 11-18), 2-3 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Hang out, watch some anime, draw your favorite characters and more. Cosplay is always welcome but never required. Designed for teens in middle school and high school. Free. Info:, 417.623.7953 x1027.

February 21: Bingo (ages 18+), 6-7 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. Play bingo and compete for prizes during this fun, free event. Info: sturnerhill@, 417.623.7953 x1030.

February 21: Journey from the Fall, 7 p.m., MSSU Cornell Auditorium, 3950 Newman Rd. This film is a part of MSSU’s Spring 2023 International Film Festival. Free. Info:, 417.625.9736.

February 28: Dog Day Afternoon (ages 6-12), 4-4:45 p.m., Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. This program allows independent readers to practice their skills by reading to certified therapy dogs. Registration suggested; register in-person or by calling 417.623.7953. Free. Info:, 417.623.2184.



Through March 4, 2023: Thomas Hart Benton, Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, 212 W. 7th St. For the first time ever, view the entire collection of editioned lithographs from Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton. Free; donations appreciated. Info:, 417.623.0183.

Through March 4, 2023: “The Thread that Connects” by Holly Wilson, Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, 212 W. 7th St. Multimedia artist Holly Wilson creates figures that serve as her storytellers to the world, conveying stories of the sacred and the precious, capturing moments of our day, vulnerabilities and strengths. Free; donations appreciated. Info:, 417.623.0183.

January 28-February 25: At the Center by Robert Higgs, Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Spiva Center for the Arts, 212 W. 7th St. Robert Higgs, one of Joplin’s most beloved artists, has been described as one of the most versatile artists in the Ozarks. Free; donations appreciated. Info:, 417.623.0183.

Through February 22: “Wake” by Jamie Bates Slone, MSSU Spiva Art Gallery, 3950 E. Newman Rd. Over the last seven years, Jamie Bates Slone’s studio practice has revolved around a cerebral exploration of her identity and mental state. Info:, 417.625.9563.

Through March 4: The Third Grade Collaboration, the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Spiva Center for the Arts, 212 W 7th St. Each year, Spiva Center for the Arts’ annual Third Grade Field Trip brings more than 1,800 area students to Spiva’s galleries to learn about and create collaborative artwork! The 2023 field trips will introduce students to Spiva’s new home in the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, and to artist Holly Wilson’s work and Thomas Hart Benton’s lithographs. Over the course of two months, these students will transform the Jo Mueller Reserve Gallery into a surprise installation that reflects what they’ve learned. Free and open to the public; donations appreciated. More information: Jade Henning-Cantrell,, 417.623.0183.

Through February 28: Art at Plant Parenthood, Plant Parenthood 417, 528 S. Main St. Plant Parenthood, a store that helps people experience, grow and decorate with plants, is not only dedicated to plants, but to local artists as well! Info:


Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. 3rd Street

Tuesdays: Creation Station (ages 6-11), 4-5:15 p.m. Painting, drawing, clay, collage, sculpture and more. Pre-registration recommended, and space is limited in this popular class; register at In advance $6, at door $8. More information:, 417.623.0183.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, 212 W. 7th St. More information:, 417.623.0183. Registration required.

February 4: Mural Class Part 1: Kids Edition (ages 5-10), 10 a.m.-noon. Hands-on class, teaching students about and guiding them through the mural process while they paint their own mural in the classroom: Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Register at Cost: $25.

February 4: Valentine’s Day Suncatchers (ages 10+), 10 a.m.–noon. Work with fused glass. All materials provided. Cost: $35.

February 4: Mural Class Part 2: Kids Edition (ages 5-10), 1-3 p.m. Teaches students about and guides them through the mural process while they paint their own mural in the classroom: Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Register at Cost: $25.

February 4: Wonders of Watercolor (ages 12+), 1-3 p.m. Registration required; register at Cost: $30.

February 11: Mural Class Part 3: Kids Edition (ages 11-15), 10 a.m.-noon. Students will learn about the mural process and will be guided through painting their own mural in the classroom, this time a replica of an ancient Egyptian painting. Register at Cost: $25.

February 11: Plexiglass Printmaking (ages 12+), 10 a.m.–noon. Bring a photo or drawing to be traced and etched, and headphones if you want a quieter etching experience. Spiva will provide the rest! Registration required; register at Cost: $30.

February 11: Mural Class Part 4: Kids Edition (ages 11-15), 1-3 p.m. Learn mural painting and the mural process. Register at Cost: $25.

February 11: Pastel Landscapes (ages 15+), 1:30-3 p.m. With Kinley Young’s tips and techniques, students will leave with new knowledge and their own pastel landscape. Register at Cost: $25.

February 18: Woodburning (ages 13+), 10 a.m.–noon. Participants will gain pyrography experience and skill and take home their own wood-burned decorative spoon. Register at Cost: $30.

February 18: Pour Your Art Out: Paint Pouring (ages 13+), 1-3 p.m. Learn paintpouring techniques that will take your skills to the next level. Register at classes. Cost: $35.

February 18: Mural Class Part 5: Adult Beginner’s Edition (ages 16+), noon-4 p.m. This is a four-hour, hands-on class for adults where students will learn about the mural process while recreating a portion of Rosie the Riveter on a classroom wall. Register at Cost: $60.

February 25: Plaster Relief Sculptures (ages 12+), 10 a.m.–noon. Learn about the relief process in sculpture and create your own to take home. Just bring a drawing or photo to transfer and Spiva will provide the rest. Register at Cost: $25.

February 25: PhotoSpiva Kids (ages 6-11), 10 a.m.–noon. Cameras are provided for students to take home to create their own photographic art – some of which will be on display during April in Spiva’s Reserve Gallery. Artist reception and awards ceremony will take place later. Register at Cost: $50.

February 25: Mural Class Part 6: Adult Advanced Edition (ages 16+), noon-4 p.m. A four-hour, hands-on class for adults where students will learn about the mural process while recreating a portion of Botticelli’s Primavera on a classroom wall. Register at Cost: $60.

February 25: PhotoSpiva Tweens & Teens (ages 11-16), 1-3 p.m. Learn all about photography as an art form, from design principals, composition, lighting and more. Cameras provided. Register at Cost: $50.

February 25: Resin Earrings (ages 12+), 1-3 p.m. Using pressed flowers, beautiful trinkets and the help of Jade Henning-Cantrell, participants will create one-of-a-kind earrings. Register at Cost: $35.


Create N’ Sip Studios, 223 W. 3rd Street:

Wednesdays: Wine’d Down Wednesday, 5-9 p.m. Canvas and home decor DIY event. Choose the project that works for you. Prices vary depending on chosen project. $28$58. Info:, 417.680.5434.

Saturdays: Saturday Morning Choose Your Canvas, 10 a.m. Select the painting you want to recreate and let the experienced staff at Create N Sip help you make a masterpiece. Prices vary depending on chosen project. Cost: $28-$176. Information:, 417.680.5434.

Local Color Art Gallery & Studio, 1027 S. Main Street: Call the gallery at 417.553.0835 to sign up.

Every Tuesday: Beginner’s watercolor class, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., $20. Bring your own supplies. Ages 8 and up.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday: 2 p.m., $20. Improve your painting and learn principles of design. Bring your own watercolor, oils or acrylic paint.

February 9: Fused Glass Valentine Suncatcher, 3:30-6 p.m., ages 8 to adult; $35. February 10: Watercolor, 1-3 p.m., all supplies furnished; $30.

February 11: Saturday Paint Class, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., $30, includes supplies and ice cream cone from Caroline’s; ages 8 and up. We’ll paint Valentine’s art for yourself or your special Valentine, or a Monet or Van Gogh.

Monett, MO

February 19: Love Is in the Air, 3-4:45 p.m., Monett High School, 1 David Sippy Dr. A special Valentine’s Day concert presented by the Ozark Festival Orchestra. Admission: adults $10, seniors (ages 65+) $5, children (ages 17 and under) admitted for free. Info:, 417.316.3302.

Neosho, MO

February 4: ArtCon 2023, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Neosho Junior High, 14646 Kodiak Rd. A pop culture adventure for everyone, featuring free Q&A panels, autographs and photo ops, a cosplay contest, a Smash Brothers tournament, board games, Dungeons and Dragons, specialty vendors, artist alley and more. For more details, visit General admission: $5; kids five and under free. Info:

February 2023 • • 15

February performances to Love

An evening with Steven Spooner

Steven Spooner’s life as a pianist got off to a rocky start.

“I dreaded my lessons as a child because my parents forced me to play simply because we owned a piano,” he said. “However, after my first difficult year, my teacher understood that I was about to quit, so she tried everything to get me interested. She assigned me movie themes, jazz pieces, folk songs, and nothing worked.” But then came the music of Chopin and a record of Polish pianist Arthur Rubenstein. “It is no exaggeration to say that as soon as that needle touched the vinyl, my life was forever on a different path.”

That path has included winning all seven international piano competitions he entered and top prizewinner at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and first prize and recipient of the Niekamp Career Grant as most outstanding pianist in French music at the Paris Conservatory. In 2008, he was awarded the Ivory Classics Foundation Prize that enabled him to study Liszt with the legendary virtuoso Earl Wild. Following this, Steven underwent a period of serious self-study and emerged as one of the most comprehensively equipped pianists of our time, embracing a gargantuan repertoire of solo works and concerti by a host of diverse composers.

Spooner’s Joplin performance is one he’s eager to do. “My wife is from Springfield, so I am very familiar with the area,” he said. “And I am very excited about your new facility/concert hall and am honored to inaugurate the venue. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at the concert, and I promise this will be an event unlike others you have attended, because I will tell you all about the secret messages in the music. I hope you leave inspired.”

The Secret Agency

The Secret Agency is on a mission to find intelligence in all forms. From linguistic intelligence to emotional intelligence and from fine art to street smarts, The Secret Agency understands the value of bringing hidden intelligence to light. Their interactive hip-hop performances combine music, storytelling, dance and imagination to encourage kids to value their unique individuality and remind adults how

at Connect2Culture

Pride and Prejudice

Actor Elizabeth Belfast will perform in the Aquila Theatre’s production. She said she derives great reward from learning the audience and their responses. “At the top of every show, I listen from the wings as the audience comes alive with energy and laughter during the first scene,” she said. “The show changes throughout the tour based on your reactions and responses as we learn what moments from the story are the most impactful to you all. The energy in the room just ebbs and flows beautifully, and I can’t think of another medium that is able to create that relationship and leave that sort of lasting impact.”

It’s a process she enjoys with the entire Aquila Theatre company. “In order to tell these stories in an authentic way and diversify history, we have to really brainstorm and collaborate in every single step,” she explained. “Everyone’s voice matters in the room. We really lean on each other, and the whole group is just so supportive technically and emotionally. It is truly a blessing.”

exciting, scary and beautiful it is to be young. The performance is best for ages 7 through 14.

The band was created by Joel Sullivan, who shared some thoughts recently about the work and the performance. “I want every kid and grown up to be able to feel their own unique amazingness,” he said. “And to feel like a lightning rod for all the love and energy that is there and to feel the community. There is a lot of positivity in our lyrics, but the topics are universal enough that both kids and adults will relate to them.”

He is bringing a whole band that “have their own superpowers, and then we unleash our spell on the audience.”

It’s a formula that earned the group a 2014 Grammy nomination and a 2017 Grammy win for best children’s recording, as well as notoriety from NPR, USA Today, TIME magazine and the Washington Post, among others. The interactive show is founded in the hip hop culture that gets the audience up and moving from the first minute. “It’s the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are that make us who we are,” Sullivan said. “I think we have the capacity to change those stories and that it’s us together that becomes the whole story. And to do it on a stage with a microphone in your hand is very brave and a great rite of passage. Hip hop is familiar to kids and a lot more accessible than trying to play a violin. The kids relate. You can tell your kids whatever you want but what you show them is what you teach.”

Steven Spooner, pianist

February 10, 2023 • 7 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets: Free

The Secret Agency

February 14, 2023 • 6 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets: $15-$20

Aquila Theatre in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

February 22, 2023 7 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall

Tickets: $30-$35

Call 417.501.5550 to reserve your seat or visit the box office inside the Cornell Complex.

February 2023 • • 17
Want to go?

EVENTS Northeast OK

Joseph Hall is Elvis: Rock N Remember at the Coleman Theatre

February 11, 7-10 p.m., 103 North Main Street

ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING! Joseph Hall brings his Elvis Rock N Remember tribute show to Miami! It’s a fast-paced show that will make it difficult for you to stay in your seat. It caters to the young and the young at heart. He’s got the look, the voice, the charm and the moves to transport the audience to a time when parents were flabbergasted by the flauntingly provocative hip action.

Miami Little Theatre Presents

Odd Couple at the Coleman Theatre

February 23-26, 7 p.m.; February 26, 2 p.m.

This classic comedy opens as a group of guys assemble for cards in the messy apartment of divorced Oscar Madison. Late to arrive is Felix Unger, who has just separated from his wife. Fastidious, depressed and none too tense, Felix seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds, Oscar becomes the one with murder on his mind when the clean freak and the slob decide to room together with hilarious results. Tickets: Adults $20, senior/student $15.

Grove, OK

January 30-February 5: Tulsa Boat, Sport and Travel Show, Tulsa Expo Square Visit for more information.

February 3: The Grand Lake O’ The Cherokee Quilt Guild, 10 a.m. Monthly meeting every first Friday, Grove Community Center, 104 W. Third.

February 3: First Friday Wine Share, 6 p.m., Muddy Pearl, 101 E. Third, Grove. For info, call 918.787.6900.

February 4: Winter Pickleball Tournament, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., The Anchor at Shangri-La. 918.257.5205.

February 6: Grand Lake Amateur Radio Association, 7-8 p.m., meets first Monday each month at the Grove American Legion Building for anyone interested in amateur (ham) radio.

February 7: Wood Carving Club, Grove Senior Center, 1-3 p.m., 145 E. O Daniel Pkwy. If you already whittle and carve, if you want to learn to whittle and carve or if you would just enjoy watching others whittle and carve, join us. No dues or entry fees. Bring your own wood and knives.

February 19: Playmakers’ “Speak Easy Theatre 2023,” 2 p.m., 121 W. 3rd St. Seats may be reserved by leaving a message at 918.786.8950 or by emailing Three desserts will be available for purchase. Please include your choice when making a reservation. The choices are 1) lemon tart pie; 2) Mississippi mud cake (nuts on the side); or 3) pineapple upside down cake with reduced sugar. These are baked by Playmakers volunteers. Adult seats: $15; student seats: $8. Dessert is $4. Assisted hearing devices are available. The short, satiric comedies are unlike those The Playmakers have presented in the past. You will find yourself chuckling in the beginning of the subtle dialogue and laughing out loud by the end.

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

Loveis in the air for our small businesses! Share the love by shopping locally for Valentine’s Day. There are so many fantastic small, locally owned businesses to get one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.

If you’re shopping for flowers, check out Higdon Florist & Delivery, Countryside in the City and Webb City Florist & Greenhouse. They can deliver that special arrangement for your sweetie.

Local boutiques like Paint Chips & Glitter, Mary’s Market on Main, Society and The Vogue Boutique all have unique gifts. Have you checked out Edith & Ethel’s Delicious Delights yet? If you have someone who loves popcorn, you’ll find the best here.

All of our business listings can be found on our website at Use this resource as a shopping guide. Small businesses are the backbone in our community. We are thankful for their investment in our community and schools, and they make the place we shop, play and work a better one. Happy Love Month from the Carl Junction Area Chamber!

February 2023 • • 19

Where it’s ‘COOL’ to be YOU!

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

Beast & Barrel presents Nature: Petals to Wings, the photography of Koral Martin at 530 South Main Street.

Blackthorn Pizza & Pub hosts Open Mic Stand Up Comedy every Sunday 8:30 p.m. Free. Drag show Feb. 17, 10 p.m.-12 a.m., for ages 21+, $5 cover charge. 510 South Joplin Avenue.

Chaos Brewing Company hosts trivia night every Wednesday. Sign up starts at 5 p.m., game at 7 p.m. Free play. 112 South Main Street.

Connect2Culture presents the following performances at the new Harry M.

Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex:

• FREE concert by pianist Steven Spooner, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

• Family performance by The Secret Agency with an interactive hip-hop show combining music, dance, storytelling and imagination to encourage kids to value their uniqueness. Feb. 14, 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$20.

• The Aquila Theatre’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. Tickets: $30-$35.

Call 417.501.5550. 212 West 7th Street.

Creative Learning Alliance is a STEM-based learning lab for kids of all ages. Join them Feb. 11 for a women in science experience, 2-3 p.m., $5 per person. 905 South Main Street.

Club 609 features the pastels-and-oil-paints artwork of Kathleen House in “Housewife & Handyman.” 609 South Main Street.

Dream Theatre Co., will hold auditions for Bonnie and Clyde Feb. 25-26 at 7 p.m. 417.622.6470. 124 South Main Street.

Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, 506 South Joplin Avenue

• Merlen White’s Geisha exhibit throughout February

• Live music from Vagabond Grove Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Cover charge is $10 for the 21+ audience.

• Swing dance lesson from Vintage Swing Movement and dance from 7-9 p.m., Feb. 25 for 18+ with a $5 cover charge per person, $8 per couple.

• Free performances: Joplin Improv’s show Feb. 17, 7 p.m.; Downtown Poetry Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.; and Open Mic Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Local Color Art Gallery - See Facebook about walk-in classes throughout the month TuesdaySaturday. 1027 South Main Street.

Plant Parenthood presents artwork from artists Marta Churchwell, Merlen White, Daria Claiborne, Connie Miller, Raelynn Willis, Lois Sayle and Brent Skinner. 528 South Main Street.

Spiva Center for the Arts presents:

• Holly Wilson’s exhibit “The Thread that Connects Us” in the Freeman Health System Main Gallery

• The 91 lithographs of Thomas Hart Benton curated by the Missouri State Historical Society in the Four States Gallery

• Third Grade Collaboration in the Jo Muelller Reserve Gallery

• Robert Higgs: At the Center in the Harry M. Cornell Permanent Collection Gallery. All exhibits free; donations welcome. Spiva Center for the Arts inside the Cornell Complex, 212 West 7th Street.

Urban Art Gallery presents a show of local artists entitled “A Love Story”. 511 South Main Street.

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 am-5 pm and Saturday 9 am-1 pm. Convenient parking.

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 510 S. Joplin Ave Joplin, MO 417.623.2485 Facebook: @ BlackthornPizza&Pub Countryside in the City Florist • Event Planner Event Venue 422 S. Joplin Ave. 417.781.3719

Just A Taste

Just A Taste in Webb City offers much more than just “a taste”! This unique venue beckons guests with the promise of an unforgettable evening, offering diverse menus and ambiance. From the moment you step through its doors, you can customize your experience: sample awardwinning wines at Zinc Tasting Room, sip a handcrafted cocktail from JAT Bar or celebrate with friends at Paddy O’Rourke’s, a cozy Irish pub.

My Just A Taste experience began with a tour of the 24,000-square-feet facility that includes four private event rooms, two bars, multiple dining areas and a private lounge hidden away in its secret cellar.

A visit to Eagles Landing Winery provided a genuine wine-tasting experience with co-owner and sommelier Eric Taylor. Eric’s passion for winemaking is rooted in family history, his love for the land and science. Eric takes great care to craft each variety of Just A Taste’s proprietary wine label Eagles Landing. Our tasting included two Eagles’ Landing signature varieties Chambourcin and Traminette, and both were delicious!

The Just A Taste menu offers everything from small bites to large plates and uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. I was lucky enough to sample several incredible dishes, from hearty burgers to vegan pasta and cocktails. The Bread Board with focaccia and dipping sauce along with pork bites were an excellent start. The hefty Cowboy Burger is a menu stand-out with a generous beef patty, fried pickles, fried onions, cheese and barbecue sauce served on a delicious potato bun. Another appealing entree is the JAT House Steak topped with herb goat cheese, served alongside garlic mashed potatoes and a salad. For those looking for something lighter, the AI Funghi pasta with locally grown mushrooms and a light lemon sauce is a great option. I recommend ending your meal on a sweet note with the bread pudding with rum ice cream. Yum!

The cocktail menu includes a Brown Sugar Old Fashioned, a Purple People Eater, Hot Buttered Rum and my favorite, the Don’t Make Me Blush, a refreshing combination of cranberry, lemon and rosemary. Looking to expand your bar experience? Check out Just A Taste memberships. Memberships range from wine tastings to cocktail mixology lessons and beyond. For true connoisseurs, there is a temperature-

controlled wine cellar where you can keep your private stock under lock and key, reserved just for you.

Just A Taste is the perfect spot for an evening of dining, drinks and relaxation. With its cozy atmosphere, intimate seating options and delectable menu offerings, there is something to satisfy any palate. Enjoy it all with friends or hide away in one of their secluded spaces - either way, you will not be disappointed!

February 2023 • • 21 >> Just A Taste is located at 105 S. Main St. • Webb City, Missouri • 417.673.9463 • Website: • Check Facebook for hours

ShowMe Dining Guide

Crabby’s Seafood Bar and Grill

815 W. 7th St. • Joplin, MO • 417.206.3474

Catering • Private Parties • Chef at Home

Dine at Crabby’s for a beautiful meal in an elegant, yet approachable finedining experience. Choose from a wide variety of fresh seafood, steak and chops. Enjoy libations from our full bar, including the best Scotch selection in town. Serving the four states for 10 years! Make your reservations today!


Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 am-10 pm • Closed Sunday

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 am-9 pm; Fri-Sun, 11 am-10 pm; Mon-Wed Lunch Specials, 11 am-2 pm; Mon-Wed Happy Hour, 3-6 pm.

Kascade Steakhouse

988 S. Country Club Rd • Carthage, MO 417.553.7357 • Like us on Facebook!

Kascade Steakhouse is Carthage’s newest spot for a delicious bite to eat. The chef is an expert in gourmet steaks, steakburgers, salmon and Italian food – his authentic alfredo is to die for. Come in on Fridays for the prime rib special. Under the same owners as Midway Café in Bartlesville, OK, where we are serving up the breakfast you have come to know and love. Dining room and lounge accommodates groups, events and weddings. $-$$

Open Tuesday-Saturday 4-9 pm.

Mis Arcos

1926 S. Garrison Ave. • Carthage, MO 417.237.0547

For the delicious authentic Mexican food you crave, there’s no place like Mis Arcos. 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 2 for $5 margaritas? Mis Arcos is home of great food, fun times and lots of laughs! $-$$

Hours: Mon-Wed, 11 am-9 pm; Fri, 11 am-9:30 pm; Sat/Sun 11 am- 9 pm

Special Advertising Section

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 11am-9 pm

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 am-10 pm Saturday 11 am-10:30 pm • Bar open later

Taste of Italy

4321 S. Chapel Road • Carthage, MO 417.358.2000

“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later, you’re hungry again.” Taste of Italy serves up delectable, authentic Italian food with new specials almost daily. Owner and Head Chef Aleks Sula was born in Albania and raised in New York City, so he brings 20-plus years of experience in traditional Italian and Mediterranean cooking to his menu. You can expect made-from-scratch bread, sauces, pasta and more. $-$$

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm; Sunday, 11 am-3 pm


Trackside Burgers & BBQ

1515 West 10th St. • Joplin, MO 417.717.1161

Trackside Burgers & BBQ offers freshly made items to order. Chef Mike and his staff offer the old-fashioned hamburgers everyone loves and more, from homemade sauces and seasoned fries to perfectly prepared chicken sandwiches and onion rings. Chef Mike wants to share his love for food and his heart to serve people. Call about catering for your next party or event! $-$$

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 am-8 pm; Saturday, 11 am-3 pm

February 2023 • • 23 Special Advertising Section

ShowMe Dining Guide


2707 E. 32nd Street • Joplin, MO 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: Monday -Saturday: 11 am-9 pm

Sunday: CLOSED

Casa Montez

4224 S. Main St. • Joplin, MO 417.624.2272

Casa Montez 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. $-$$

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 am-8 pm

Just A Taste

105 S. Main St. • Webb City, MO 417.673.9463 •

Just A Taste Webb City has a plethora of incredible spaces for you to try out. Every time you come in, you can have a unique experience. Visit our tasting room, which features our own wine made in St. James, Missouri. Or, join us for dinner in our intimate restaurant or indoor courtyard, where we feature a farm-to-table menu. Or, stop in for a drink in our cozy cocktail bar featuring an inventive cocktail menu and hundreds of beer and spirits. $$-$$$. Check Facebook for hours.

Shawanoe Restaurant

70220 East Hwy 60 • Wyandotte, OK 888.992 SKY1

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. $-$$$

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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 am-10 pm; Saturday-Sunday 7 am-10 pm.

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 am – 2 pm and Dinner, 5 pm–9 pm.

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! $-$$

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11 am-Close

Undercliff Grill & Bar

6835 Old Highway 71 • Joplin, MO 417.629.2869 •

Undercliff Grill & Bar is back in business! This historical restaurant has been brought back to life under new ownership, so come by to grab a bite to eat and see what’s new. Chow down on some good old-fashioned comfort food or grab a beer at the bar. Undercliff Grill & Bar is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, a date or a night out with friends and family. Follow Undercliff Grill & Bar on Facebook to learn more! $-$$.

Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 11 am-9 pm; Saturday, 9 am-9 pm; Sunday, 9 am-3 pm.

February 2023 • • 25 Special Advertising Section

One24 Boutique

Fashion Forward

One24 Boutique is located at 13105 Kodiak Rd in Neosho, Missouri. 417.451.1144

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One24 Boutique is owned by a mother/ daughter team and offers an eclectic mix of clothing for women and children, shoes, handbags, gifts, accessories and home decor. A portion of all proceeds go to KU Medical Bladder Cancer in honor of Karla, one of the owners, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer January 24, 2013 (One24).


Zena Suri Alpacas

35401 S. 580 Road • Jay, OK • 804.389.2579

Cupid made a visit to Zena Suri Alpacas this year when Cody surprised Nikki with a visit to meet the warm, cuddly creatures. Betty Boop demonstrated how soft and friendly they are and let Nikki cuddle. Then, they came into the store where Cody had hidden a gorgeous engagement ring. When she saw it, he dropped to one knee. Nikki said yes without hesitation.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with us. There are amazing things in the gift shop for your sweetie or for yourself. Call 804.389.2579 to make your appointment to tour or shop today. We are south of Grand Lake in Northeastern Oklahoma.

One 24 Boutique

13105 Kodiak Rd • Neosho, MO • 417.451.1144

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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! A portion of all proceeds is donated each month to the KU Bladder Cancer Department to fund a research scholarship.

Extreme Sports Scuba

5203 S. Range Line Road • Joplin, MO

417.659.9009 •

Your adventure starts here at Extreme Sports Scuba. February is the perfect time to learn to dive. Stop in on Valentine’s Day, February 14, to purchase the Valentine’s Special: buy one open water class for yourself and get one free for a second person. Owner Deb Weston takes pride in running a family business alongside grandson Drake.

Big Dog Boutique, LLC

319 S. Main • Carthage, MO • 417.359.6740

The Paw Spa • A Bathhouse for Dogs

323 S. Main • Carthage, MO • 417.359.6740

Big Dog Boutique, located on the historic Carthage square, is a unique, vintage-style dog boutique offering goods for dogs of all sizes. Teacup to giant breeds and everyone in between will find what they need from the largest selection of American-made collars and leashes, toys, treats, CBD and healthcare items. Visit the new Doggie Spa, featuring a self-serve dog wash room stocked with everything needed to keep your dog fresh and smelling good! Walk in, wash up, walk out...we take care of the clean up!

February 2023 • • 27 Special Advertising Section

Ockertheim Glassworks

2207 West 7th Street • Joplin, MO

Find something unique at Ockertheim Glassworks! Specializing in glass artwork, Valorie Ockert creates beautiful handmade items from vases and windchimes to trinket dishes and keychains. Each piece is extraordinary and one-of-a-kind. Want to learn how to make glass art? Join Valorie for a glass-making class February 5 or February 9 for your opportunity to create your own piece of art. All supplies are included! Call 417.691.8285 to reserve your spot!

Big R’s Pies 417. 437.3135 was 23 years in the making. Owner Twyla Housh sold the barbecue portion of Big R’s in April, but she and her mother Carla kept the pie portion and set up a commercial pie kitchen. Whole pie pickups are at Big R’s, Red Onion Espressoria in Galena, Kansas, and Chatters in Pittsburg, Kansas. No charge for delivery within Joplin city limits.

Wig’N Out Boutique

20 S. Main St. • Webb City, MO

417.717.5099 •

Wig’N Out Boutique would “love” to help you with all your hair goals and needs. Their experienced stylists specialize in wigs, hairpieces and extensions. At Wig’N Out Boutique, you will also find stylish clothing, shoes and accessories for every occasion. And, always remember: “We’ve got you covered from head to toe!” Call them today to schedule your consultation.


4 S. Main St. • Webb City, MO • 417.717.0073

Facebook & Instagram: @SocietyWebbCity

Need a cute outfit for Valentine’s Day? Let Society Marketplace help you get ready! Pair a flirty graphic shirt with one of their handmade vintage quilt jackets for the perfect look. Society Marketplace also offers special-order quilt jackets with a quilt from your own home. Don’t forget about Ladies Night where you can indulge in a fun-filled pampering evening with your friends. Society also has a great selection of permanent jewelry. Society Marketplace is exactly as the name says -- a community of people!

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Blue Moon Boutique

613 S. Main Street • Joplin, MO • 417.553.0826

Facebook: @Blue Moon Boutique Joplin

All you need is a little love … but a little shopping now and then doesn’t hurt! Stop by Blue Moon Boutique for the cutest vintageinspired Valentine’s Day clothing and accessories! At Blue Moon Boutique, you’ll always find unique clothing and accessories, quirky home decor and gifts, locally made artwork and more. If you have an eclectic, boho style, then Blue Moon Boutique will be right up your alley!

The Vogue Boutique

144 S. Main • Carl Junction, MO

Just 10 minutes from downtown Joplin 417.649.7911

Insta: @thevogueboutiquecj

Facebook: thevogueboutiquecj

Gift your Valentine something really special this year! The Vogue Boutique has all the favorite hard-to-find lines everyone loves to receive ... Hunter, Birkenstock, Ecco, Hobo, Liverpool, MackenzieChilds, Kendra Scott, Julie Vos, E-Newton, Musse Bath, Tokyo Milk, Archive, Sweet Grace, Mudpie, Tyler, Capri Blue and many more! Let our friendly staff help you choose the perfect gift for your sweetheart. The Vogue Boutique is located at 144 South Main Street in the heart of historic downtown Carl Junction just across from the Post Office. Open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.4 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Shop online anytime at

Hatfield Smoked Meats

7329 Gateway Dr • Neosho, MO


Cozy up with a delicious meal this winter! Whether you’re hosting a game-day party or Valentine’s Day dinner for two, Hatfield’s Smoked Meats has you covered. We specialize in mouth-watering fresh-cut steaks, smoked meats, meat trays, snack sticks, beef jerky, meat for special occasions and more. Family owned and operated; Hatfield’s Smoked Meats has a proud tradition of taking care of customers like family. Come in daily for one of our lunch specials.

Club 1201

1201 E. 32nd Street • Joplin, MO

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, “outof-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: Tues-Thur 11 am-3 pm; Fri 11 am-10 pm; Sat and Sun 9 pm-2 pm. We are available for out-of-house and in-house events and catering 7 days a week.

February 2023 • • 29 Special Advertising Section

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Joplin

Celebrating 25 years of l ve from Ronald McDonald House

Since registering the first guest August 20, 1998, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States at 3402 South Jackson Street in Joplin has served over 3,330 families from 38 states and two foreign countries. In celebration of its 25th year, and in this month focused on love, Show Me The Ozarks is honoring the work done by Executive Director Annette Thurston, her staff and the team of community volunteers who assure each family finds comfort and support during some of life’s toughest times.

“It is approximately 56 footsteps from the bottom of the sidewalk to the front door of our Ronald McDonald House and 35 footsteps from that sixth floor elevator to the door of our Ronald McDonald Family Room in Mercy hospital,” said Thurston. “Open either door and you will meet a loving, caring staff and volunteers who open their hearts to each family member, be it mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma or grandpa who is experiencing one of the most stressful times of their lives – a child with a serious illness. They are welcomed with open arms. They soon learn they are in a safe, secure place. That staff will strive to meet every need they may have, be it physical, emotional or financial.”

Here are just a few of the families who have received that support and caring:

The Ybarra Family • Miami, Oklahoma

In December 2021, Derekka and Carlos Ybarra gave birth to their daughter, Jaida-Claire, who needed to be cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit for a few extra days. When they heard they could stay at Ronald McDonald House, they felt at ease.

“The Ronald McDonald House experience we had brings tears to my eyes,” Derekka Ybarra said. “It was first-class service to me and my husband during some of our saddest days in life. Leaving the hospital without your baby at the time of your discharge was heartbreaking. However, I could look across the hospital parking lot knowing my baby was not far from me. We truly cannot express enough gratitude to the staff and all the volunteers.”

Photos submitted by Ronald McDonald House Charities

The Hanks Family • Webb City, Missouri

Twins Brock and Bristol were born at 31 weeks, and the Hankses had four other children at their home in Webb City. That meant they couldn’t live at Ronald McDonald House, but Janelle Hanks said, “The Ronald McDonald House still managed to provide so much for us.”

The family had lunch and snack breaks at the house between the twins’ feeding times at the NICU. “It was so nice that I was able to run over and have a warm meal and enjoy some quality time with people who genuinely cared about me and my family‘s wellbeing,” said Janelle.

Today, Brock and Bristol are healthy and energetic 3-year-olds, and their parents now volunteer to cook meals at the house for other families like them.

The Kramer Family Coffeyville, Kansas

Jason and Lindsay Kramer stayed at Ronald McDonald House twice. In 2019, they stayed for 22 nights as they awaited their daughter Lydia. In 2022, they used the house for four nights while their son James was in the NICU.

“Being at the hospital was hard and scary and confusing, and the Ronald McDonald House was kind of a little lighthouse for us in a dark place,” said Lindsay Kramer, “The staff here were just so encouraging. They listened to us, they celebrated little milestones with us.”

The Sperry Family • Pittsburg, Kansas

When Katie Sperry was pregnant with her twins, she anticipated her girls would come early, but she and her husband, Jonathan, were not prepared for them to arrive 12 weeks early. On a snowy evening in January 2018, Katie’s water broke, and she and her husband drove to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri. The next day, Adele and Ivy were born. The Sperrys searched for ways they could remain close to the hospital and their girls. They learned about Ronald McDonald House and felt instantly relieved. They spent 58 nights at the House.

Katie appreciated the close proximity of the house to the hospital and how house volunteers and staff members were so welcoming to their two older children, Vivienne and Jude. Today, Adele and Ivy are happy and healthy.

The Carnahan Family • Neosho, Missouri

Cassie and Justin Carnahan gave birth to their daughter, Abby, September 16, 2014, at only 28 weeks gestation. Abby weighed just 1 pound, 4 ounces and required a lot of care in the NICU. While she grew strong in the NICU, Abby’s parents and her brother, Connor, stayed at Ronald McDonald House of the Four States.

Cassie said, “The Ronald McDonald House is a major blessing for this time so we could be close to Abby.”

After 125 nights at Ronald McDonald House, the Carnahan family got to take Abby home. Today, she is a beautiful 8-year-old girl.

If you would like to learn more about the organization or volunteer to help, visit or call 417.624.2273. of the Four States

February 2023 • • 31

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Joplin

first community bank

Thrilled to be Part of Joplin Community

First Community Bank is excited about starting what is hoped will be a strong and enduring relationship with Joplin, Missouri, and working diligently to build it up better and better in the days, weeks and months ahead.

“With existing branches in Pineville, Goodman and Neosho, our natural progression in Missouri was to expand our footprint into Joplin,” said Vice President – Commercial Lender Adam Maggard. “It just made sense, because Joplin is a desirable location for businesses and industries due to its excellent economic development initiatives that pave the way for future growth and development.

“Over time, we had established relationships with a sizeable number of Joplin customers, so putting a branch in Joplin to serve them and future customers was an easy decision.”

In considering not only why this Southwest Missouri city that sits in the middle of both Jasper and Newton counties is ideal for First Community Bank and such a wide-ranging array of many other businesses, Maggard said, “Joplin is a progressive community and yet it still possesses that hometown feel.

“It supports a real sense of community, and that is something we know all about and will always be glad to get behind.

“Joplin is a leader in the state of Missouri when it comes to job growth, and they are poised to do great things.

“With offerings in various manufacturing operations, as well as retail, higher education and multiple transportation options, it is no wonder the population has experienced an uptick.”

This financial establishment is thrilled to now be operating successfully in Missouri’s 13th-most populous city, and Maggard said, “First Community Bank is excited to

be a part of Joplin’s growth and to provide community banking to the many citizens and businesses.

“We believe in neighbors helping neighbors. We are the community bank that puts our customers and our community first.

“Joplin has a dynamic workforce, a growing population, a favorable business environment and an ideal geographic position. We’re dedicated to being a part of that growth.”

It’s interesting to understand all that figured into the decision-making for First Community Bank to develop a presence in Joplin. “As far as the process, we suggested this move to our senior management and board of directors, got their buy-in, followed by obtaining a regulatory approval.

“We feel good about the future relationship with Joplin because our staff are all experienced bankers who have worked in the Joplin market for many years.

“It all comes down to the people we hire, because customers ultimately decide where to bank, based on who they trust.”

If first impressions are any indication, Maggard and his Joplin team have been welcomed graciously, and he humbly said, “First Community Bank is honored and grateful for the kind reception we have received already from our friends and neighbors in Joplin.

“We look forward to building on our traditions and serving our community, and we thank you for your warm welcome.”

Photos by Mandy Edmonson

Rolling Out the Red Carpet: First Community Bank officially opened in Joplin January 3, 2023

Address: 1710 East 32nd Street, Joplin, MO 64804

NMLS: 1032272

Bank NMLS: 539634

Phone Number: 417.553.2106

About Us: The name First Community Bank was born in the fall of 1996, as the vision of creating a bank that would reflect the heart of putting community, people and service first. On August 4, 1997, the vision of 153 local investors became a reality as First Community Bank opened its doors for business with the first location at 710 Saint Louis Street in Batesville, Arkansas.

Growth: There are now 34 locations across Arkansas and southern Missouri

Slogan: “Where Community Comes

First” is our commitment to be good community partners

February 2023 • • 33 First Community Bank Fast Facts
1710 EAST 32ND STREET 1-888-780-8391 Offer of credit is subject to credit approval. Bank NMLS #539634 NOW OPEN IN JOPLIN! • Checking Accounts • Savings Accounts • Credit Cards • Loans • Mortgages • Online Banking • Mobile Banking • Business Banking NEOSHO | GOODMAN | JANE | JOPLIN

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Webb City


Our town’s motto is “We love it here!” But, why do we love it here? Because we’re a small town with lots of heart. From our award-winning schools to our outstanding local business owners, Webb City is simply bursting with pride.

Every year, the Webb City Chamber of Commerce celebrates its school district and town with its Paint the Town Red Parade and Bonfire. Each year, this event brings 3,500 Webb City residents out to celebrate, and if that doesn’t show community support, what does?

Downtown shop owners open their doors the first Thursday of every month from March to October for Downtown After Dark for shopping and wine tastings. These bring people from as far away as Grove, Oklahoma, to get a taste of the local atmosphere and the local wine. These same shop owners open their doors in spring and late fall for the Spring Shop Hop and the Merry Market, which are weekend-long shopping sprees through the boutiques on Main Street.

King Jack Park sets the stage for two incredible events during the year,

as well. From Cruise-a-Palooza in July to The Polar Bear Express in December, hundreds of families come to make and create traditions. Cruise-a-Palooza is the gathering of car collectors and their families, as well as a cook-off, local food truck owners and a fireworks show finale. The Polar Bear Express happens the first three weekends in December and brings in about 400 people each night. The entire park is lit up with 100,000 lights on each building, tree and over 100 individual light displays put together by the amazing Parks Department staff, who spend an immeasurable amount of time each year to make this magic happen. Each year, the Parks Department also sets up and operates the original Trolley Car that takes patrons all

around the park, which is no small feat for a 107-year-old street car! King Jack Park is also home to the award-winning Webb City Farmers Market, which is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the spring and summer months. Many people from the community support and participate in the farmers market, making sure the produce sold is from Webb City soil.


Not only is Webb City celebrated by the residents throughout the year, but also by those who protect and serve it. The Webb City Police Department holds Shop with a Cop every year for those in the community who need a little extra help during Christmas. The Webb City Fire and Police departments also put on Badges and Burgers to raise money for United Way and Webb City Cares. Webb City Cares helps students within the school district who are in need of food, clothing and any expense they cannot make.

Webb City is a great place to visit and a great place to live. Here, you’ll never know a stranger, and everyone is always willing to help their neighbor. We love it here because of the people here. We love it here because of the big heart that pulses through and propels Webb City to be its best. Webb City: We LOVE it here!

February 2023 • • 35

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Carl Junction Joshua Howard is Happy to Live, Work in Carl Junction

Happy Trees Table Co., owner Joshua Howard couldn’t be happier than he is right now, operating and overseeing a company located in his hometown of Carl Junction, Missouri.

When asked why he chose this city of about 8,000 residents in Jasper County, Howard says, “I never really considered opening Happy Trees Table Co., anywhere else.

“Carl Junction supports small businesses so well and really comes together as a community.”

Howard believes Carl Junction has appeal for virtually any company and organization looking for a place to do business, and he suggests what makes it such a desirable destination is, “the people in this community as a whole, and their willingness to build others up and support each other.”

Howard feels as though there’s a lot to like

about this area, and he suggests that what helps make it attractive is “its proximity to local landmarks and amenities.”

Overall, there’s just such a friendly vibe, and Howard says, “The community as a whole is very welcoming and neighborly.”

Howard is focused on providing residents of Carl Junction and visitors to this town with a unique product that is masterfully made with the goal of bringing a lifetime of joy to those who spend their hard-earned money such a high-quality purchase.

Starting his own business “kind of came out of necessity and tragedy at the same time. We have a life group we host once a week. My wife and I were tired of setting up a plastic table once a week.

“A friend of ours had a nice farmhouse-style table, and I told my wife I could build one of those for us.”

While that first table was coming to fruition, Howard’s dad passed away in August 2019, and he says building the table became “very cathartic and therapeutic. And I fell in love with woodworking.”

From there, Howard was able to start promoting his trade and talent. “I’m an extrovert at heart,” he says. “It allowed me to meet new people while taking an idea or space that a client had in mind and transform it for them. It allowed me to help tell their story.”

Howard has an incredible business, but he insists making it work well isn’t automatic. “There are four things that really allow a person to be successful in any business: intentionality, authenticity, communication and patience.”

It all comes full circle for Howard, running a business in the middle of a community where he’s always lived. “Carl Junction is where I grew up, and it’s where my son is going to grow up.

“Carl Junction embodies a mindset of loving your neighbor as yourself well, and I’m proud to play a small part in that. Everyone within Carl Junction is welcoming and inviting.

“Carl Junction offers a heartwarming charm and hospitality to those who visit or call this city home. I love working and building a business in Carl Junction.”


Joshua Howard

Happy Trees Table Co., Fast Facts

Age: 36

Wife: Stephanie

Children: Son, Declan, 9 years old

Hometown: Carl Junction, Missouri

High School Alma Mater: Carl Junction High School

College: Missouri

Southern State University

Degree: General studies with an emphasis in art and mathematics

Career: Owner at Happy Trees Table Co. (furniture maker, craftsman and carpenter)

Relaxation and Recreation Fun: Spending time with family and friends, playing outside with his son

February 2023 • • 37

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Carthage

the post-holiday blues have you down and you are looking for things to do? Head on over to Carthage, Missouri, as we have so many things to see and do. We have unique shopping around our historic square and all over town. Grab a bite to eat at some of our unique Carthage favorite restaurants like our newest restaurant, Floyd’s Wings-N-Waffles, located at 2300 Grand Avenue.

Grab your gal pals and head over to the Historic Phelps House, 1146 Grand Avenue, Friday, February 10, from 5-8 p.m., and enjoy a special Galentine’s Sip-N-Shop. Enjoy this pop-up unique shopping from the Artists Lot 404, Sincerely Yours, Samples from Sweets by Sassy, Revel Boutique and many others. Cost is $15 per ticket and includes a beverage ticket for guests to choose a beverage from Pennington Wines or Roscoe’s Bar & Grill. To purchase your tickets, visit

Also, on the morning of February 10 at 10 a.m., the Carthage Chamber will kick off the first of many legislative briefings throughout Jasper County with Eggs & Issues. Hear from local elected state and federal officials as they brief attendees on happenings in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., that directly affect us. Cost to attend is $15 and includes breakfast, and will be held at Grace Pointe Church, 1605 South Baker Blvd., in Carthage. All tickets must be purchased in advance and on the Chamber’s website, No tickets or money will be accepted at the door.

For a list of upcoming events throughout the Carthage area this spring, visit the Carthage Chamber’s website or Experience Carthage, MO at www.experiencecarthagemo. com.

Race Brothers Farm & Home Supply

2309 Fair Lawn Dr. 417.358.3529

Race Brothers carries a complete line of farm and home supplies including clothing, electrical, plumbing, lawn and garden, outdoor power equipment, tools, truck accessories, pet supplies, cattle-handling equipment, farm fencing and toys. Dedicated to providing the Carthage area with quality service and products for over 40 years. You’ll like the way we do business…tell a friend!

We can’t wait to see you all in Carthage enjoying our amazing community!


PAYAM SHARIFI provides Carthage with food, fun at Kascade Steakhouse

Sharifi has worked hard on several upgrades to his business that will likely have broad appeal to residents of Carthage and visitors. “We recently remodeled the backroom, which serves as both an event space and sports bar.

“The biggest change involves the front dining area. We’re putting in a new floor, which will serve as a dance floor during club hours. It will have a total space of just under 1,200 square feet. In other words, on the weekends after we close at 9 p.m., we immediately transition to being a club into the late hours.

“We will have either DJs or bands during club hours. The backroom will serve as a separate event space with its own DJ to target different demographics at the same time.

“In the same building, we could have two or three different parties going on at the same time. During these hours, we will have certain food items available to order. What’s even more fun is that once we get closer to midnight or 1 a.m., we will start serving breakfast.”

As Sharifi thinks back on the decision to open his restaurant in Carthage, he is candid in saying, “It wasn’t specifically Carthage, but the building and the possibilities in this building is what made us open this business here. It does have its appealing areas where locals like to hang out, such as the square.


Fast Facts

Age: 37

Hometown: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

High School Alma Mater: Bartlesville High School College Alma Mater: University of Oklahoma

Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in economics, finance and accounting; Master’s in economics at the University of MissouriKansas City and all but dissertation in the IPhD Program in economics at the University of Missouri

Career: General manager and owner of Kascade Steakhouse

Relaxation and Recreation Fun: Surfing the internet and engaging in topics of debate

“Opening a business requires that one understands the population and wealth dynamics in a city or town. This is a necessity for any business to understand to be successful. The people who understand this the most are the ones that end up with success, defined with parameters.”

Sharifi doesn’t necessarily think he’s doing all that great yet, but he says, “What excites me is that we are finally taking steps to have that successful business.”

Sharifi is content in Carthage, and he says, “It’s a nice place to live. But what’s most important to me is that I am providing the population an area where they can have good food and good fun in the future. I want to help liven things up, at least the best way I can.

“My only goals are to have a successful business and a fun venue where people can have a good time. At the base of this is the food and service.

“Many people put the cart before the horse and want to provide the venue, but don’t put the fundamental base in place, which is the food and service. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m comfortable where we are as a restaurant. So, my focus is on establishing parallel areas of business that work with the restaurant.”

February 2023 • • 39 Payam Sharifi/Kascade
Having owned and operated Kascade Steakhouse in Carthage, Missouri, for close to five years now, Payam Sharifi is passionate about making his restaurant a desirable destination for good eating and plenty of entertainment pleasure.

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Neosho

Construction Services Group a ‘Family-First’ Company

Construction Services Group (CSG) owner Chris Marion understands what makes Neosho, Missouri, such a perfect place to do business.

Marion began learning all the ins and outs of building throughout Southwest Missouri as a young boy working with his family’s company, Dale Marion Construction. He says, “This city is made up of community members that take pride in who they are – people who are hardworking and have strong family values.

“This aligns perfectly with the value system within our organization. We are diligent to ensure plenty of close-to-home work for all our CSG family. Close-to-home means less travel time and more quality personal and family time.”

While Marion loves working in and around this town of about 13,000 residents, he truly believes it makes total sense for many other companies to set up shop here and says, “Neosho is a growing community.

“From the various new businesses that have recognized this and made significant investments here, to the growth of the fabulous school system with the most modern of facilities and numerous other established businesses that have been here for years and continue to strengthen and expand, Neosho is a great place to live and work.”

Adding further insight on what makes this

an attractive area, Marion says, “In discussions with ownership on two recently completed projects (People’s Bank of Seneca and Zak’s Car Wash), I was able to gain some outside perspective as to the appeal of coming to Neosho.

“They see Neosho as a strong community that supports local business. They believe people are being drawn to live here for the quality pace of life, proximity and access to interstate travel, great schools, a beautiful natural environment and numerous other amenities Neosho has to offer.”

As a perfect example of Neosho’s potential, Marion says, “One such amenity that is coming to town is the beautiful new 15,000-square-foot Blue Oak Plaza Retail Center being brought here by developer Kaleb Sampson.

“It will be home to Eagle Outdoors and several other new businesses. Mr. Sampson has recognized the value of this community and is making a significant investment in its future.”


As CSG has grown and evolved over these past many years, so has Chris’ role in operating the company.

“Today, I clearly understand my role is taking care of the many wonderful men and women that work here and who have committed themselves to making the company and work family the best it can be.

“(Success) is best accomplished by putting systems in place to help ensure we continue to value and take care of our amazing clients, which in turn leads to strong relationships and continued growth.”

While Marion has a great deal of pride in having built a successful enterprise in Neosho, he says what makes it most worthwhile is having “created opportunities for all employees to have a quality of life and a way for them to provide for their families.”

Chris Marion, Construction Services Group (CSG) Fast Facts

High School Alma Mater: Neosho High School (1984)

College Alma Mater and Degree: Crowder College with an associate degree (1986) and Missouri Southern State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (1988)

Mixing Family with Business

• Son, Tyler, who serves as vice president of project procurement, and his wife, Jordan, have two children, daughter Collins (3) and son Crew (1).

• Daughter, Reagan Wilson, and her husband, Tye, have two sons, Sawyer (4) and Maddox (2).

• Youngest son, AC (22), joined the Marines and will head off to Camp Pendleton in February.

• Nephew, Carter, vice president of field operations, and his wife, Tiffany, have a daughter, Lucy (1).

• Nephew, Colton, works in project procurement. He has a wife, Lauren.

Career Milestones/History

• Chris Marion moved with his family to Neosho from Stella, Missouri, in 1968. As a young child, he grew up following his dad, Dale Marion, around on building sites, absorbing construction knowledge and witnessing the expertise of a skilled, talented craftsman.

• The history of Marion Construction didn’t begin with Chris or even his dad. Chris’ grandfather, Alec Chalmer Marion, began the long family history of building in the Neosho area, while helping with the construction of Camp Crowder (1941).

• Chris’ dad began his own construction company in the late 1960s, building homes and businesses in Neosho for two decades.

• At the age of 16, Chris began work for a large general contractor in a seasonal/part-time capacity, becoming full-time after graduating from college, and eventually working his way up the ladder from a field laborer to vice president of the company.

• Chris began Construction Services Group in 2005. Today, CSG has grown into a regional company, performing multi-million-dollar projects throughout the Four-State Region.

February 2023 • • 41
People’s Bank of Seneca-Neosho Branch Zak’s Express Car Wash People’s Bank of Seneca-Neosho Branch

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Pittsburg, KS Take a Walk on the Awe-Inspiring Side Through PSU Walking Tour

When it comes to enjoying so many of the picturesque sites that help make Pittsburg, Kansas, such a terrific place to live and work, there’s likely nothing more enticing than the Pittsburg State University (PSU) Walking Tour, which brings together virtually everything residents and visitors find appealing about this area.

Chris Wilson, who serves as marketing and communications manager for Explore Crawford County, believes what helps make this a desirable destination is “in addition to its charm, the PSU campus is compact and walkable. It’s ADA compliant, so it’s easy to get around.

“The variety of things to see is what I think helps make it an attractive place for anyone to visit. There’s architecture, art, history, music, nature, science, sports and whatever else interests you. You’ll find something intriguing here.”

As for what specifically makes this walking tour so important, Wilson says, “The PSU campus is very charming. There’s a blend of historic buildings and state-of-the-art new ones, all with interesting architecture.

“There are numerous murals and statues, including a lot of gorillas, of course, and an amazing veterans memorial, which is highlighted by a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.”

While the walking tour provides an impressive look into Pittsburg as a whole, it is just a glimpse into what makes this entire area so special.

Wilson provides historical context in saying, “That principal of variety applies to the community at large, as well. Southeast Kansas communities once thrived because of mining, and everything revolved around that industry for decades.

“When the mines closed, it hurt. Mining-related factories closed, and retailers soon followed. But that has changed because Pittsburg and surrounding communities have become more versatile.”

Indeed, Pittsburg has so much to be proud about, and Wilson says, “With a university and six high schools in one county (Crawford County), we’ve always been known for our sports. We’ve also been known for our outdoor recreation – hunting and fishing. Now, we’re also seeing gravel riders, kayakers and others.

“There is now a variety of retailers and industries. There are numerous restaurants with every flavor you can imagine. Even the boutiques have diversified. Pittsburg has a children’s boutique, as well as a ‘shop for dudes.’”

That’s not all. “You even see it in the live entertainment: Jazz, punk, orchestra, country polka, rock and roll, heavy metal and more can be heard any given weekend.”

Whether it’s the walking tour at PSU, along with a wide-ranging possibility of so many other activities, it’s easy to see why Wilson raves about all Pittsburg has to offer. “There’s something nearly every week. Okay, maybe not during the winter. But there is so much happening, people forget to tell us about some things.

“Our communities are business friendly. If someone needs help, all they need to do is ask. Plus, on the rare occasion there isn’t something going on locally, we’re a day-trip drive from Joplin, Branson, Northwest Arkansas, Tulsa, Wichita and Kansas City. That means those communities are a day trip away from us, as well.”

Wilson believes Pittsburg is a perfect place, and he says, “Why would they (visitors from larger cities) want to come to us? Because we have festivals, live entertainment, dining and shopping you might only see in much larger communities, all at a more affordable price and with less traffic.”


Pittsburg State University Walking Tour Fast Facts

What: Looking for a place to walk that will take you past lovely landscaping, works of art, a scenic lake and a beautiful blend of historic and modern buildings? The Pittsburg State University Walking Tour is it.

Created by: Pittsburg State University


A few examples of what you’ll see on the tour…

• One of the oldest buildings still standing in Pittsburg and beautifully preserved, Russ Hall was built in 1908 and named in 1912 after the university’s founder and first principal.

• Senior Walk, completed and dedicated in 2012, was made possible by a gift from the Student Government Association and features plaques for each Outstanding Senior Award recipient.

• Porter Hall is home to the PSU Art Department, including three art galleries. Built in 1927, it was named for a state legislator, Ebenezer Porter, who sponsored a bill in 1903 that paved the way for PSU to be built and helped get the funding.

• On the east side of Porter Hall, in a picturesque, shaded area is Night Song, a bronze sculpture of a Native American playing a flute, designed by professional artist and PSU graduate Joe Beeler (class of 1957).

• The Wooster Gorilla has overlooked the Oval from its position at the main south doors of the Overman Student Center since 1965, when it was installed there as a gift from the 1965 Senior Class.

• The Centennial Bell Tower, located between the Axe Library and Carnie Smith Stadium, was a gift from the Senior Classes of 1993-1996.

• Gorilla Village encompasses several structures east of Carnie Smith Stadium, including the Gazebo, the East Shelter and the West Shelter.

• The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts is a premier destination for the region. Peek inside whenever the building is open to see the stunning architecture and learn more about upcoming performances.

• The Robert W. Plaster Center is a stateof-the-art facility that hosts a variety of university and community events, including national track and field championships, career fairs, Special Olympics events and commencement.

February 2023 • • 43

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Lamar

PLAZA THEATRE, BARCO DRIVE-IN Provide Entertainment in Lamar

The renowned Plaza Theatre located on the square in Lamar, Missouri, is celebrating 88 years as an historical venue that has been providing residents of this town and visitors with motion picture entertainment for more than three quarters of a century.

About 35 years ago, the theater was in jeopardy of being demolished, but current Plaza Theatre and Barco Drive-In Manager Scott Kelley says, “The Plaza closed in May of 1986 after a fire in the building next door in December of 1985.

“Talk of the theater being torn down got a group of Lamar citizens together that formed Community Plaza Rescue. They started taking donations, buying the building and beginning the restorations in 1993.” In recognizing some of those with the rescue mission, Kelley says, “Betty Kuhn, Kathy Jenkins, Jerri Finley, Lynn Carlton and Richard Scroggs were board members overseeing the various fundraising events, starting with a new roof.

“Pat O’Neal joined the board when Richard Scroggs retired. The restoration involved the whole community with Lamar Bank & Trust Company helping as well.”

Kelley, who has managed the Plaza Theatre since it re-opened in November 1998, worked at the business for co-owners Butler and Wanda Felts, who’ve owned it for 36 years, when he was in high school in 1978.

Kelley says the Plaza is appealing because “hand-painted murals and decorative features on the walls and ceiling make for a beautiful experience going to the movies. They don’t make them like this anymore.

“We get visitors from surrounding areas to watch movies. The experience is so much different from a multiplex theater, and with our digital projector and Dolby Digital 7.1 sound, the presentation is amazing.”

The Plaza Theatre, as well as Barco Drive-In, which is also a popular destination for Lamar folks, are both important to Kelley. “My wife, Pam, and I met working for Butler and Wanda in high school.

“My dad, Don Kelley, and my children, Shari Ann and Zachary, have worked with us, as well as other community members.”

As for Barco Drive-In, which the Felts have owned for 58 years, Kelley provides perspective on it as well, saying it is “open from March to November, most years.

“It’s mostly open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, with extra nights during the summer. We put in a new Christie 4230 4K projector in July of 2020. The picture is amazing.”

Refreshments are a must, and Kelley says, “We pride ourselves on our snack bar food, including homemade chili for our hot dogs and nachos.

“We also have tacos and burritos, and barbecue beef during the summer, as well as the best buttered popcorn in the area at both theaters.”

When it comes to the best of what Lamar has to offer, it’s clear there’s really nothing that tops the Plaza Theatre and Barco Drive-In.


Plaza Theatre/Barco

Drive-In Fast Facts


Plaza Theatre is at 107 West 11th Street

Barco Drive-In is at 57 S.E. 25th Lane


Plaza Theatre originally opened October 25, 1934 Barco Drive-In opened in April 1950

Perspective: Plaza Theatre was designed by architect Larry P. Larsen of Webb City and remodeled in 1945 to the designs of architect Robert O. Boller

Barco Drive-In is the longest-operating drive-in in the area

February 2023 • • 45

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Grove, OK

LIVING THE GRAND LIFE Provides Fun, Excitement in Grove

There is something fun and exciting to do in Grove, Oklahoma, every day, every week, every month, all year long.

“Grove is a busy place year-round with lots of friendly faces that are ready to accommodate in so many different ways,” Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Connie King says. “Grove offers fabulous dining, top-notch golf courses and lakeside getaways – from rustic to first class –ideal for any taste or budget.

“We love to provide our visitors with lots of entertainment options and events when they come here, and it is on the drawing board all year to find the best days, the best events and the best venues to help make these things happen. There is always something to do in Grove.”

One of the truly grand spots in Grove is Grand Lake, and King says, “It’s the best bass fishing lake in Oklahoma. It’s also the crappie capital of the world and has the largest population of paddlefish, also known as spoonbill in our state.

“It is also home to white, spotted, small and largemouth bass, white crappie, bluegill, the hybrid striper and channel catfish. Grove hosts major fishing tournaments throughout the year, so there’s a good chance you could be fishing with pros when you fish the Grand.”

King says Grove, while being “surrounded by the beautiful waters of Grand Lake, is a natural draw for those who want to enjoy water activities, golfing, beautiful sunsets, nightlife or just to relax and get away for a bit.”

King says some specific activities area residents and visitors might find interesting are “a farmers market every weekend from May-October, as well as Food Truck Friday the first weekend of every month with different attractions and entertainment each time.

“Look for our signature event, Toes in the Grand, June 15-17. It includes a carnival, vendors and some great music, including

country band Ricochet. Plans are still under way for other activities at this event.”

King is proud to serve this community. “I am so pleased to be a part of the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce with the opportunity to promote our beautiful area.

“I love ‘Living the Grand Life’ and having a front-row seat to witness the changes and growth happening in the area. It is an exciting time to live and play here.

“Grove boasts great businesses and the friendliest people around, and I immensely enjoy serving my community.

“I also love to see our visitors smiling and having a grand time, while making memories. A smiling visitor means we have done our job and done it well.”


Feature Attractions in Grove, Oklahoma

25th Annual Home & Garden Show: Show hours are Friday, March 3, from 3-7 p.m., Saturday, March 4 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, March 5, from 11 a.m.3 p.m. Approximately 40 vendors at this event, including experts in landscaping, foodies, guttering and window companies, pest control experts, lawn and garden equipment and much, much more. It’s the perfect time for longtime residents and newcomers to get great tips on their home and garden needs.

Har-Ber Village Opening for the Season: The new year starts March 11, and this facility is open Thursday-Monday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Travel back in time to the pioneer days at this smoke-free and petfriendly place. There are beautiful trails in the woods and along the lake that are open year-round.

Grove’s Annual Spring Open House at Area Retailers: Takes place Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Approximately 35 businesses throughout the community will participate and offering special open house deals, savings and fun. Stop by the Chamber office to receive a list of participating merchants and specials, drawings, deals and fun.

Lendonwood Gardens: An eight-acre botanical garden is open year-round during daylight hours with different views each season. April offers azaleas, rhododendrons, peonies, dogwoods and hostas.

Grove’s Local Casinos: Grand Lake Casino and Cherokee Casino offer live music Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m., featuring some of the area’s greatest talents.

Shangri-La Resort: Home to The Anchor, which is a fabulous activity center (and more) with things to do for the old and young, including everything from pickle ball to arcade games and signature drinks, while watching a game on the big-screen TVs. Come stay and play or just enjoy a day trip.

February 2023 • • 47

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Grove, OK

HAR-BER VILLAGE MUSEUM Has Strong ‘History’ with Grove

Being completely and fully engaged with its surrounding area of Grove, Oklahoma, while joining for wide-ranging events and promotions is and always has been a major priority for Har-Ber Village Museum.

Har-Ber Village Executive Director Nicole Reynolds says, “We have a wonderful relationship with the city of Grove, Oklahoma, and try to participate as much as possible in any events hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Tourism Bureau.

“We try to maintain involvement by helping and supporting with parades and Grove Public Schools. We host a lot of things for the community and the city. We have a café onsite, venue rentals for the community to host an event, 2.5 miles of free-to-the-public walking trails and an educational facility for area students on a field trip.”

This is a significant partnership, and Reynolds says, “As one of the oldest established businesses and tourist attractions in Grove, we are one of the leaders in the tourism industry.

“We are also a selling point for relocation, education facilities, nonprofits, volunteer opportunities, hosting for the Leadership Grove classes, Newcomer’s Club presentations and so much more.

“Grove has been an absolute joy to be a part of for me. I get to be an advocate for our beautiful town.

“Whether that’s to answer questions about tourism, educate youth about the pioneer era, run workshops for heritage skills for adults, advocate about why we are a wonderful town, the industry we have to offer, our great school system and an eclectic variety of small businesses, I’m blessed to be a part of it.

“We are not only a lake community, but we are also a family community. We offer a wide range of things for a family to come here and see.

“There are things here for all ages. Even with being a lake community, we have that feel of being small-town America.”

Along with all those coming to visit for a short time, Reynolds believes that to live and work here is special. “This community is a small town with the right mix of industry to help keep the economy in a great place for its residents.

“As a small business owner, you are given the help and guidance to grow and succeed here. We have a beautiful landscape that gives you the ability to feel like you are on vacation without leaving home.

“As a vacation hotspot and being a lake town, we provide a person a place to visit that’s not on the water. It’s Grove’s little slice of the Ozark landscape in our own backyard.

“We give visitors the opportunity to see what life was like in the area in the late 1800s, as 90% of our collection is from Northeast Oklahoma and surrounding states (Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri). We advocate youth and pass history down to them. Last year, we had 9,000 students visit from four states. That, to me, is a win.”


Har-Ber Village Fast Facts

Where: 4404 W. 20th St., Grove, OK 74344

Phone: 918.786.6446


Hours: Seasonal/open the second Saturday in March through the first Saturday in November (ThursdayMonday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday)

Established: September 1, 1968

Founded By: Harvey & Bernice Jones of Springdale, Arkansas, who also founded Jones Truck Lines (JTL)

Nonprofit: Har-Ber Village Museum is a nonprofit run by a private foundation called The Har-Ber Village Foundation

More than a Museum

Everything from Living History events, to Mining for gemstones, Holiday festivities, to Venue rentals!

Restuarant onsite. Picnic areas and Free Nature Trails!

Open March to November Thursday - Monday 9am to 3:30pm Closed on Tue & Wed

Come out and enjoy a day of family entertainment! 4404 W 20th St. Grove, OK, 74344 918-786-6446

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Monett


Contractors Owner Thad Hood Loves All Monett Has to Offer

HHR Contractors owner Thad Hood has built a strong foundation with his company in Monett, Missouri, over the past 13 years, and he simply loves doing business in this Barry County city of nearly 10,000 residents.

Hood believes there’s a lot for businesses to like about this Southwest Missouri town, and he says, “I feel our city is always striving to become better. I’m on the Monett Mainstreet Board, which is always trying to do things to draw people to shop local.

“A large pavilion was built on Front Street, where we have First on Front during the summer, and we have Food Truck Fridays. Our city park is a beautiful location to take your family. We have a newer YMCA, Greenway Trails and a wonderful 18-hole golf course. Not to mention, Monett has a great school system.”

After being born and raised in this area, Hood relocated to the West Coast for a while, before returning to his roots. “I came back from California to help my dad with the family farm and ended up getting married in 2011. And my wife, Rexanna, was from Monett.”

The way Hood sees it, the reason for ultimately deciding to set up shop here wasn’t complicated. “Monett is where my wife grew up, and it is appealing because this community is a great place to grow.”

Hood is convinced companies can be successful in Monett because “we have industry that draws workers from all over, which makes it appealing for business and a great location to live.

“It is close to Joplin, Springfield and Northwest Arkansas, so you can visit without having to live in the big cities.”

Hood considers this to be a terrific place to live and work. “I think Monett still has the small hometown feel, yet there is constant growth, and this provides the opportunity to be successful in business.”

Hood is thrilled to be a business owner here, and he stresses that what makes him most proud about it is “the support of a great community and loyal customers that have become friends over the years.”

Overall, Hood is as invested in Monett as anyone, both personally and professionally, so it is easy to see his passion for helping lead important restoration and revitalization projects.

“Monett downtown is extremely important to me,” Hood says. “I got excited when my company helped remodel the Monett Historical Society Museum building, in which my offices are now located on the second floor. Seeing the transformation of the old building gave me the motivation to want to continue to improve other older buildings in the area.

“We are now working on what was once the First National Bank building at 4th and Broadway. I also own the building east of it, which is where I plan to have our real estate business, with loft apartments upstairs.”

Hood remains committed more than ever to make Monett a desirable destination, and he says “drawing people to our downtown area, I think, is vital to make any small town appealing so that people want to visit our establishment and eventually live here.

“Updating the buildings, which in turn will attract retail shops and restaurants, is my prime goal for the downtown future.”


Thad Hood HHR Contractors

Fast Facts

Age: 55

Wife: Rexanna, 52 Children: Daughter, Alex, 21

Hometown: Aurora, Missouri

High School Alma Mater: Aurora High School

Career: Owner of HHR Contractors LLC, HHR Custom Homes and HHR Realty

Relaxation and Recreation Fun: My wife and I love to travel. I love fine dining.

February 2023 • • 51

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Aurora

AURORA: Where All Roads Lead Home Every Day

Aurora, Missouri, is a colorful community with a historic Houn’ Dawg mascot and a collective heart of gold. When there is a need in this town, there are people who jump in the trenches to solve problems and take care of business. That’s just the way it has always been.

The rural community is a treasure trove of history, culture, flea markets, restaurants and opportunity. Key groups that portray that One Town…One Team…One Heartbeat approach include: GRO Aurora, Project Rise, Create Here, Main Street Aurora, Aurora Rotary, the Aurora Houn’ Dawg Alumni & Outreach Center, the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Lions Club, Youth Empowerment Project and Aurora Beautification Company, just to name a few.

The downtown area is rich in architecture, possibilities and tradition. The corridors leading in and out of the community of 7,274 people are lined with residential areas, businesses and

projects in the making. The district boasts close to 2,000 students in grades pre-K-12, while the Chamber of Commerce has close to 170 members on the books these days.

Local chatter includes conversations about the community’s comprehensive plan, the town’s two mural projects, plans for a third mural, the school district’s comprehensive plan, key leadership roles, a downtown pavilion, a recreation center, an aquatic center and some new housing developments, too.

A recent sense of place project included the planting of 1,000 daffodils throughout the Summit City of the Ozarks. Procured by Youth Empowerment students through the help of the Aurora Affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the grant for the daffodils was launched to commemorate 50 years of philanthropic CFO efforts in Southwest Missouri.

Aurorans decided to paint the town yellow in honor of CFO’s success here with a variety of local folks in leadership positions. Helping to promote the Daffodil Project were Aurora Schools, Project Rise, the City of Aurora and the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.

Houn’ Dawg Outreach Center

The community is the site of several sense of place projects sponsored by the Aurora Houn’ Dawg Alumni & Outreach Center with some help from the Youth Empowerment Project at Aurora High School. Additional entities, individuals and organizations have jumped on board to help preserve the past, protect the stories and promote a vision for the future.

Two All Roads Lead Home murals are showcased near the downtown square. Raine Clotfelter, America’s Muralist, led the design efforts to create these two masterpieces in 2021 and 2022. These artistic depictions portray pieces of the town’s past to help commemorate its 153 years of existence and the rich history preserved here. The most recent mural is located on the south wall of Pawnderosa Pawn. It also features an interactive component created by local artists Diana and Hannah Estes to allow for selfies with butterfly and dragonfly wings.

“These sense of place projects are designed to promote dialogue, preserve history, create interest in the arts and help connect the past to the present through collaboration, research and creativity,” said Kim McCully-Mobley, co-director of the Youth Empowerment Project and the Houn’ Dawg Alumni & Outreach Center, adding, “Ultimately, this is all about celebrating who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re heading.”

Upcoming projects at the Houn’ Dawg Alumni & Outreach Center include a digital storytelling studio, a veterans honor garden and third mural, additional landscaping, a renovated classroom area and

a new and improved website to archive historical documents, stories, photographs and more.

A staunch supporter of the Aurora Houn’ Dawg Alumni & Outreach Center previously mentioned is the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. In fact, Shannon Walker, the chamber’s executive director, is the newest board member to join the ranks of the advisory panel. Other members include Jake McCully, Jack Muench, Michele Parbury, Marcia Sadler, Bob Journagan and Scott Pettit. Brad Boettler serves as the other co-director. Dr. Billy Redus is the liaison for the school district.

Something these folks have in common is their love for Aurora and the surrounding communities. They are friends, colleagues and family.

“After living in Aurora for over 30 years, Aurora is HOME. I have been the chamber director for 17 of those years. I am passionate about the Aurora Chamber and the community. I have been fortunate to make so many strong connections with people in the community. These are people who have become family,” explained Walker. February 2023 will find two additional members being added to the ranks of the Houn’ Dawg Hall of Fame, launched in 2018 by the Aurora Houn’ Dawg Alumni & Outreach Center. Induction ceremonies will spotlight the efforts of Walt Pettit, a longtime local attorney and civic leader, as well as Brian Fogle, an Aurora alum who currently serves as president of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Springfield. Both men have been involved in Rotary International and a variety of service projects to help benefit the people they serve as, once again, All Roads Lead Home.

February 2023 • • 53
Chamber Executive Director Shannon Walker, right

Singles in the

FRONT ROW (L-R): Tessla DiMaggio, Sydney Adams, Austin Headlee. BACK ROW (L-R): Brandon Wilkeman, Melissa Sorden, JD Buckridge, Kacey Baugh, Tron Peterson, Cindy Randall, Richard Crouch. Photos by Mandy Edmonson

We are delighted to introduce this year’s 10 single, independent and downright fun group of people. Haruki Murakami put it best when he wrote, “If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there’s salvation in life.”

Our singles put forward their emphasis on love and loyalty along with their favorite love stories and songs. So, take your time and peruse because you might just find the love of your life.


Tessla DiMaggio

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I’m 28. I work at Finn’s, and I’m a bartender. I have two cats and three ferrets. I love to eat and cook as well as anything outdoorsy. In the summer, I enjoy swimming and visiting the ocean.

What are your dealbreakers? When someone scrapes their teeth on silverware, smacking with food or gum. Dislike of kids and animals. Frequent drinking. No cheating or lying.

What do you look for in a partner? Someone with a job and who is a good listener. An empath would be nice. Someone who enjoys being active and taking adventures. Living life to the fullest. What is your favorite love story, and why? Sweet Home Alabama and The Notebook.

JD Buckridge

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I’m a single dad of four kids and love spending time with all of them. I am also a small business owner and a part of a new start-up business that serves five states. I love all things sports and coffee, especially Notre Dame football. You can typically find me at a local high school home football game (go, Eagles!) on a Friday night or at my middle son’s football and basketball games throughout the year.

I am typically found at a local coffee shop sipping on my favorite go-to drink, and one may classify me as a bit of a coffee snob (they all vary from shop to shop because I love them all). I also enjoy playing my guitar on my front porch, diving into a good book or even catching a movie here and there.

Occupation: Waitress/Bartender at Finn’s • Joplin, MO • Age: 28

When did you last sing to yourself or someone else? On the way here to the interview in my car.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? Most grateful for family, friends and music and dancing.

If you could learn one skill or ability perfectly, what would it be, and why? I would like to learn freediving and surfing because of the ocean. There’s always something beautiful to discover under the sea.

What does your dream first date look like? Cooking dinner because I love cooking. Cuddling and a movie, but if I don’t know you, maybe just the movie. Going on a hike or thrift shopping, car shows.

Occupation: President/CEO at Higher Vision, LLC • Joplin, MO • Age: 44

What do you look for in a partner? First and foremost would be a person of faith as I am a devout Christian. Someone who also shares my sense of values and love for entrepreneurship and small business. Someone who will be a true partner in life and not just a stay-at-home kind of partner. One of my personal passions is investing in small business owners and leaders, so I’d like to have by my side someone who can do the same.

What are your dealbreakers? Anyone who will not pray for me or others. Again, faith is HUGE for me, so this is a must. Someone who cannot hold a back-and-forth conversation or makes the conversations only about themselves. Someone who is not willing to think outside of the box and go

the extra mile for others. I’m really seeking someone who is selfless and loves to serve.

What does your dream first date look like? A typical first date would be to start off at a coffee shop to really connect and just hang out first while waiting on reservations at a nice local restaurant. Then a nice dinner at a local spot and if things go well, drinks at the same establishment followed by another coffee run (did I say I love coffee already?) followed by a nice walk in Mercy Park or King Jack Park.

Favorite love song? Oh, you got me there. I don’t have any favorite love songs, but I’m a huge Foo Fighters fan and can sing along with most tracks and even play some on the guitar. Of course, all things the ‘90s is always a good time.

Melissa Sorden

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time.

I’m a 59-year-old single mother of four adult children with 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. I was raised in Lamar, Missouri, where my father opened a doughnut shop/bakery when I was 12, and I worked there until I got married at 17. I opened a doughnut shop with my first husband. We eventually had seven different shops in the area.

After divorcing, I stayed in the bakery field and managed bakeries in Joplin, Carthage, St. Louis and Oral Roberts University in Tulsa before moving back to Joplin seven years ago.

For fun, I enjoy thrift shopping and spending time with my youngest daughter, my grandson and new greatgranddaughter, and a wonderful crew of friends that fulfill my life.

What do you look for in a partner? I look for someone who is spiritually centered and has a love for our creator.

Richard Crouch

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I love the outdoors and all things nature, especially being on the water. I love to fish, scuba dive, paddleboard, hunt and play golf. In the summer, you can find me at the lake, fishing usually, or doing something water related. I love a night in or a night out on the town, I love to have fun and just be spontaneous and go with the flow of life. I am very outgoing and adventurous. I love hitting a trail and going off-roading in the Jeep. I enjoy spending time with my girls and taking them to do things. I love karaoke, concerts and all styles of music. I enjoy going to the gym, even though I need to go more. LOL. I’m also a member of the ELKS and attend One Church Joplin.

What do you look for in a partner? Looks are important; there definitely has to be that physical attraction. However, personality is also a huge thing to me. Someone who can make me laugh and just smile is also very important to me.

What are your dealbreakers? Personality is huge to me and being real/genuine, just being you and who you are from day one. So, with that said, fake people, dishonesty and cheating.

Occupation: Executive Baker at Finn’s Bakery and Restaurant • Joplin, MO • Age: 59

They must be self-reliant and secure. No time for jealousy or fighting, and I would prefer they have grown children and not little ones. They must have a love for animals and kindness toward humanity.

What are your dealbreakers?

Dealbreakers are not having a job or a plan for the future, unless you are retired. Another dealbreaker is a bunch of ex-wives and small children.

What is your favorite love story, and why? My favorite love story in real life is of my great-grandfather, Weaver Duncan. (My grandparents) survived the early 1900s, the Great Depression, raising children in a small town, and they were still so very much in love. She mourned his death until her passing. As far as a movie that’s my favorite love story: “What Dreams May Come.”

What does your dream first date look like? My dream date would start with flowers and then a day trip to a new location I’ve

never visited. Possibly a cultural event, music or just exploring new sites.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? I am grateful for my children, my grandchildren and my group of close friends who have always made me feel like sisters. I’m always so very grateful for that. I am blessed to have a career I love doing. Every day is a new day, and I bring joy to people. What more could you ask for?

Occupation: Regional Medical Sales Manager for the Midwest and West Coast and Former First Responder with Newton County Search and Rescue/Dive Team • Joplin, MO • Age: 41

When did you last sing to yourself or someone else? All the time! Music for me is therapeutic. Chances are, if you see me driving down the road and at a stoplight, my very own jam session is taking place.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? My daughters, friends and family. I enjoy watching Lacie and Lindsey, my two teenage daughters, compete in their sports/ activities. Family, though, just isn’t blood. I have some very close friends I consider family and would do anything for.

What is your favorite love story and why? It would have to be Johnny and June. To some people, they would say Johnny and June were toxic and there was bad in the relationship, and there was, but at the end of the day, they loved each other, they stood by each other and got through all of life’s challenges thrown their way together. They had every reason to give up, but they didn’t. When Johnny was once asked what his definition of paradise was, he responded, “This

morning, with her, having coffee.” I mean, who doesn’t want a relationship like that?

If you could learn one skill or ability perfectly, what would it be, and why? I love the outdoors and nature, so I would have to say perfect my golf game or hunting/fishing capabilities. I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid to do the things they love the most and just enjoy life?

Sydney Adams

Occupation: Server at Club 609 Joplin, MO • Age: 23

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I just recently graduated from Missouri Southern State University. I like to spend time with kids and interned at a children’s center. I like to travel, hang out with friends, outings, books and gyms.

What are your dealbreakers? Cheating or lying. Someone who is unreliable, doesn’t appreciate what I bring to the table and doesn’t communicate. Someone who is not clean. If I walk into your bathroom and your toilet hasn’t been cleaned, I’m out of there.

What does your dream first date look like? I appreciate face-to-face conversations. I don’t really like to talk to

Brandon Wilkeman

Occupation: Project Manager for Abernathy

Roofing and Solar • Joplin, MO • Age: 30

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I’m a project manager at Solar, and I spend a lot of my free time playing music, enjoying the outdoors and hanging out with my miniature husky named Milo.

What do you look for in a partner? A sense of humor is something I treasure in a partner or even just a first date. A knack for adventure is something else I look forward to and someone who has a general love for life.

What are your dealbreakers? My biggest dealbreaker is probably smoking. Inside and outside the house, I do not like it.

people via phone or text. An ideal first date is something that entails conversation and fun, going to a fair and going to an arcade to show off my skills.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? Mostly for the challenges God has given me in my life, and for those who have been there to support me: my friends, my peers, my family, my mentors. I have lots of people to be grateful for.

If you could learn one skill or ability perfectly, what would it be and why? I would definitely perfect communication. Sometimes I struggle with articulating what I’m trying to say and my tone. That is something I think would really help me out.

When did you last sing to yourself or someone else? I play guitar often, so probably whenever I do that. I would say about a week ago.

What does your dream first date look like? I would love to camp or hike in the mountains. Also, hopefully one where you aren’t stood up.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? I would have to say owning my home is something I am extremely grateful for. I also have my own dog, a miniature husky, whose name is Milo!

Cindy Randall

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time: During my free time, I really enjoy spending time with my friends just playing all types of board or card games. Also, I enjoy watching a good documentary.

What do you look for in a partner? I think communication is a key component but also comprehending what your partner needs, or the relationship will never succeed. Quality time, finding that special time for the two of you to have one-on-one time with no interruptions; a date night is always fun, as well.

What are your dealbreakers? Cheating or lying. There is absolutely no room in my life for any of that. And, to some people, this next one might sound trivial, but smoking. I find it unattractive, and the smell is terrible.

What is your favorite love story, and why? The Notebook! To walk through your life with the one who got away and reunite years later is a miraculous blessing. Then to stay with

Austin Headlee

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I’m a pretty cheerful glass-half-full kind of guy. I go to the gym, go back home, relax with my cat, play video games and hang out with friends whenever.

What do you look for in a partner? I look for someone I can travel with and try new things with and sit back and do nothing with. Just being in their presence. But above all, I value honesty and openness.

What are your dealbreakers? I’m easygoing without many dealbreakers but being rude to wait staff is a big one. Treating people with respect is important to me.

What does your dream first date look like? My dream first date would be a picnic

Occupation: Works from Home Neosho, MO • Age: 64

your significant other during a debilitating illness like Alzheimer’s, the selflessness is phenomenal. What better way to go than to be in your loved one’s arms. It doesn’t get any better than that!

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else? I sing to myself every time I get in my car. Don’t we all??

What does your dream first date look like? A first date is probably going to a cabin in the snow with hot-tubbing, fun food, maybe a glass of wine and getting to know each other better!

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? To forgive others and to be forgiven. It’s a hard thing to do for people, but it’s so worth it not having to harbor ill feelings forever. It’ll change your life!

If you could learn one skill or ability perfectly, what would it be and why? To become an officer in the United States Air Force and a pilot for our fighter jets! What better honor is there to serve your country? I love the military, it teaches people to grow and learn discipline, respect and integrity.

Occupation: Quapaw Casino Employee Joplin, MO • Age: 27

with wine and a charcuterie board in nice hoodie weather. It’s nice, private and great for talking and enjoying good food.

What is your favorite love story and why? Lady and the Tramp.

If you could learn one skill or ability perfectly, what would it be and why? If I could learn one skill, it would be to be a great chef. I recently got a nice kitchen knife, and I’m trying to rediscover my love of cooking.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? I am most grateful for my job, my friends and my family. I’m thankful for getting a start in my career so early in my life and having a great network for motivation around me whenever I need it.

Kacey Baugh

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. My name is Kacey Baugh, 42. I am the owner of the Maple Leaf Music Company in Carthage and a consultant with Higher Vision. I’m a songwriter and in my free time, I like to write music, spend time with friends and dine at fine restaurants.

What do you look for in a partner? I’m looking for someone who loves the Lord and values their role as a spiritual leader. I’m a big believer that if you want someone to see you and value you, you have to value yourself. One of the principles of my life is to love your neighbor as yourself. Values family and marriage. Values people like God does. Forgives well.

What are your dealbreakers? Addicts, cheaters and liars.

Tron Peterson

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time. I am a follower of Christ, a single dad of five children, only one of which is still in the home. I am the founder and executive director of Peterson Outdoors Ministries and Lodge of Hope, a local nonprofit established in 2006 that provides outdoor recreational therapy and retreats for veterans and their families, first responders, and youth and adults with disabilities or terminal illness. I live my life every day to encourage others and to make a difference in this world.

My hobbies include anything outdoors, going on Jeep adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, wildlife photography, videography, writing, grilling and fitness. I love our country, our veterans and our first responders.

What do you look for in a partner? Faith, loyalty, trust, honesty, adventure lover, attractive. Someone who is younger than me and has a heart of compassion, a heart for Jesus and serving others, loves the outdoors and adventure and could see herself by my side as a partner who is willing to give 110% to a

Occupation: Owner of Maple Leaf Music Company Carthage, MO • Age: 42

What is your favorite love story and why?

I’m a sucker for Hallmark cheesy romantic movies.

When did you last sing to yourself or someone else? Last night on Facebook Live.

What does your dream first date look like? I am really old-fashioned. I love dinner and a movie and some coffee and a walk downtown.

For what in your life do you feel the most grateful? I feel most grateful for my friends, family and church. If you could learn one skill or ability perfectly, what would it be and why? I would want to be able to have wisdom because it is very hard to navigate this life without it. I want to have more and more of it.

Occupation: Executive Director of Peterson Outdoor Ministries Oronogo, MO • Age: 53

Christ-centered relationship and also isn’t afraid to pursue the purposes and passions God created for her to do.

What are your dealbreakers? Someone who is dishonest, unfaithful or unwilling to see the importance of a Christ-centered relationship.

What does your dream first date look like?

If it was Christmastime, a fun date would be a romantic dinner, a sleigh ride in the snow or a walk in a lighted park full of Christmas lights.

If it was spring or summer, it would be fun to go kayaking, nature hiking or horseback riding with a picnic lunch, boating at the lake or fishing or hunting together.

What is your favorite love story and why?

My favorite love story would probably be the story of Noah and Allie in “The Notebook.” Their love lasted through some of life’s most brutal storms, and when Allie’s health got bad, Noah stayed by her side to the end. It reminds me of my parents’ love story. My favorite love song would have to be “Everything I Do, I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams.

Second Time Around

After experiencing a significant life event such as death or divorce, jumping back into the dating pool can be daunting. Before boldly taking the plunge into the dating world, take time to heal and become comfortable being alone. When you are ready, these tips will give you a smooth start toward finding love again.

The Wait

In Emily Post’s day, options were black and white when it came to dating after a spouse’s death or divorce. In 1905, Emily herself was a divorced woman but had not yet become the authority on etiquette she is today. Fast forward to today, and the options vary greatly. Everyone handles such a situation in their own way, and there truly is not one right answer. Some people take years before they feel ready to start over while others need only weeks. Some even choose not to date at all. While well-meaning friends may offer their opinions as to whether you should get back out there, it is up to you to decide what feels right for you and when you are ready.

Introducing Children

When introducing children to a potential new partner, on average, experts suggest waiting six months before doing so, giving them time to adjust. Furthermore, consider how an introduction could affect your children emotionally; if they feel overwhelmed or anxious about it, wait until they are more comfortable.

Don’t Dwell

Talking about past relationships may come up naturally in conversation, but try not to overshare, and keep conversations lighthearted and positive. This will help avoid awkwardness and tension to create a healthier environment to get to know each other better.



Figuring out who should pay for the date can be tricky. In general, etiquette dictates that whoever invites is responsible

for the bill. Of course, if both parties agree to split it, that is okay, too. Dates don’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler, the better! Try meeting for coffee or going for a walk.

Looking for Love

When searching for someone special, establish connections with people through friends and acquaintances who can vouch for them personally. Also, consider taking classes or going on group outings that will allow you to meet new people in a safe environment without too much pressure. If you decide to go the route of online dating apps, be honest, don’t disclose too much personal information and remember the golden rule.

Be Selective

It is easy to get caught up in all the excitement of meeting someone new when starting to date again, but make sure this person meets all your criteria (i.e., similar interests, communication style and lifestyle choices). Additionally, make sure they respect your boundaries. You deserve nothing less than happiness. Good luck out there!

Kristi Spencer is the founder of The Polite Company and an etiquette expert. Kristi provides personalized in-person or online etiquette lessons that build social skills and self-esteem. She helps clients find success at work and in personal relationships. Kristi is a graduate of the Emily Post Institute, the gold standard of etiquette training. Kristi is the exclusive Emily Post Institute-trained etiquette instructor in the Four-State Region. Kristi Spencer lives in Carl Junction with her husband and two sons.

February 2023 • • 61

Jane McCaulley

Fused glass pieces inspired by nature

Have you heard that saying “If you know, you know”? Well, Jane McCaulley knew early in her life that the artist’s path was hers to walk.

“I remember as a small child, I was making things and doodling,” she said. “I made things from scraps that my dad had from remodeling our home. I cut things out of magazines and put them back together. I always wanted to do art.”

Fast forward to today, and you can find McCaulley’s fused glass art for purchase at Local Color Gallery, the Spiva Center for the Arts gift shop and at the Webb City Farmers Market around the holidays. She also teaches her technique at Spiva Center for the Arts and Local Color and during art camps at Carthage’s artCentral.

McCaulley describes her technique as “pretty simple,” explaining, “I take an object and simplify it so it’s possible to cut it out of glass. I can also paint onto glass, which can be a little more detailed. I work with mosaics, which are glued to a surface, and now I mostly do fused glass. This is cutting glass from large sheets, layering it and then fusing or melting it together in a kiln, usually at around 1430-1460°. It can take as much as 24 hours for some pieces.”

A weekend retreat for art teachers hosted by the Art Education Association of Indiana is where McCaulley was first introduced to glass

as an art medium. “That was 20 years ago,” she said. “And the first time I cut a piece of glass, I was hooked.”

McCaulley taught elementary art for 35 years in Indiana and said she is still influenced by the work the thousands of her students created in her classroom. She is also inspired by nature and God’s creation. “I believe my ability to work and create with glass is a gift from God,” she said. “I like the scripture that states ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above.’”

But there are still challenges in the work. McCaulley cited making multiples of things for sale. She is excited by a new design, but “after six or more of something, I find myself making little changes to keep going without getting bored. I made 66 dogs for the Georgia Humane Society, and that was definitely pushing it.”

McCaulley works from her home studio in the large, finished basement. “We moved to Missouri 14 years ago and the house had an unfinished basement at the time. It was perfect for a large studio.” This year, the space will continue to support her artistic goals. “I am always looking for new techniques and new products,” she said. “I will also be taking more classes both online and in person.”

The reward for the long workdays is the feedback she receives from her buyers. “It makes me so happy when people tell me they bought some of my art and how much they like it or where they hung it or who they gifted it to,” she said. “That still amazes me and pleases me to no end.”

“I believe my ability to work and create with glass is a gift from God.”

Steve & Cindy Head

Reflect on a Marriage Made in Heaven

There’s no way not to be impressed with how Steve and Cindy Head have a love story that has forged a stronger bond with each passing year through more than three and a half decades, even though quite a few people didn’t figure it would be everlasting.

Love Story

Being completely transparent, Steve and Cindy shared how they met at what was a difficult time in their lives, while recalling that, “We were attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or 12-step recovery meetings. We both struggled with alcohol in our younger years, and it had affected our prior marriages.

“In early 1986, we had attended a 28-day in-patient treatment program in Springfield, Missouri, called Turning Point, which had weekly after-care counseling in Joplin, Missouri. We were both attending those weekly counseling sessions, and that’s where we first got acquainted.”

They began dating soon afterward, and Steve fondly remembered that “one night, we decided to exchange phone numbers and talk, and just be friends. Of course, the just friends idea was just to rationalize what we knew was probably not what people would think was the best idea in the world.

“We talked on the phone a few times, then suggested we could maybe go to a movie as just friends, of course. But that ended up being the point of no return for us. We were going to be more than just friends.”

Less than three months after their first date, Steve and Cindy got married, and they knew it was right for them.

“When Steve showed me some videos he had made of his parents and family, I could see his heart, his creativity and his caring compassionate nature,” said Cindy. “I could see his love for God and family. I trusted that he would love me and my boys, as well.”

Steve said, “To be honest, we both fell instantly gaga in love with each other. It was an instant attraction that never dissipated but only grew stronger over the years. Cindy had brought a joy into my life that I never wanted to end.”

That’s how it all began. As for how they’ve remained steadfastly in love with each other, it’s not complicated.

Cindy said, “Our love of God, and both of us striving individually and together to live and love more like Jesus,” is what strengthened their marriage.

Steve said, “After a few years in our marriage, at the time when the physical attraction usually starts to fade away, there was one day that I remember thinking to myself, ‘I love this woman inside of Cindy.’

“It was my first realization that my love for her went way beyond the physical. I was still gaga in love, but it was on a spiritual level that I’d never known or experienced. In my prior marriage, I never felt that way. This was a new feeling. And I thought, ‘This is what true love is.’”

All the many things this husband-and-wife team do together only makes their bond stronger. Cindy said, “It has kept us young at heart and totally committed to each other.”

Steve said, “All of these things we do, both as a couple and individually, are what I like to describe as ‘what redemption looks like.’

“When God takes all the pain and brokenness of our earlier lives and turns it all around and creates something new and beautiful, you just

can’t help but share that with others.”

Every married couple faces challenges along the way. As for overcoming those, Cindy said it takes “lots of prayer and learning to be more patient, kind, sacrificial, understanding, caring and compassionate.”

Steve said, “Strong marriages don’t happen in a vacuum. You need others as mentors for your own marriage and people in your life to turn to for help and advice along the way.

“We’ve had many other couples in our lives to look to as examples and for help. And at some point, you need to pay it forward and be that role model and mentor for others.”

These lovebirds have every reason to be proud of what they’ve built, and Cindy is greatly gratified because of the importance she and her husband placed on “working and praying hard to grow together during challenging and difficult times, while growing a Godly, solid marriage and family where we have our covenant and commitment to each other.”

Steve said what gives him reason to smile is “for me, it’s just the fact that so many people seem to admire our relationship and tell us so. That makes me feel we are not only on the right track but are very blessed.”

Steve and Cindy Fast Facts

Ages: Steve, 70, and Cindy, 73

Relationship Milestones: First date October 5, 1986, then got engaged six weeks later and were marred four weeks after that on December 21, 1986

Blended Family: Three adult sons and one adult daughter along with five adult grandchildren

Hometowns: Steve was born in Oakland, California, where he lived until moving to Joplin, Missouri, in 1978; Cindy was born and raised in Decatur, Arkansas

High School Alma Maters: Steve graduated from Irvington High School in Fremont, California; Cindy is a graduate of Decatur High School in Decatur, Arkansas

College Alma Maters: Steve attended Los Angeles City College and later Missouri Southern State College (1979); Cindy attended the University of Arkansas

College Degree: Cindy received a nursing degree from Missouri Southern State College (1985)

Careers: Steve has owned an advertising and marketing business for 38 years; Cindy just retired as a registered nurse after 39 years

Helping Others: Cindy went on a mission trip to Kenya in 2005; both Steve and Cindy went to Haiti in 2010 to help after the huge earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people. They have both mentored high school and collegeaged young people and have been a friendship family to international college students from all around the globe. They’ve led a workshop for adult survivors of abuse. Most recently, they volunteered at local ministries, helping people struggling with childhood trauma and addictions

Recreation Time: Steve and Cindy love art and traveling the country and the world

February 2023 • • 65

Love in the Workplace

Love Written in the Stars

Eric & Kellie Gerner

“We met before we remember,” said Kellie. “Eric’s dad, Dr. Gerner, delivered me. Our families were friends before we were born.

“My parents had a funeral home, and we lived in the back of it. Back then, all the doctors and my parents were on call 24/7, so Eric and I played together on the weekends. My grandparents lived in the middle of Woolaroc, and one day when my grandpa was

trapping, he found a newborn baby deer. A bobcat had killed its mama. So, we raised the deer for two years in the back of the funeral home until I couldn’t walk her on a leash anymore.

“Eric’s folks had a lot of land out in the country, so we gave him our deer to finish raising. I bet there aren’t too many couples that can say they shared a pet deer with their future mate when they were kids!”

Kellie and Eric started dating when Eric was a senior in high school.

“I think it was very much in the stars for us to be together forever. Eric worked at the local grocery store.

S ome couples fall in love at first sight, but Eric and Kellie Gerner’s love began in their childhood.
Photos by Mandy Edmonson

I would go in and flirt with him. He took the bait, and we got married a month after he graduated high school. In June, we will be married 43 years,” said Kellie. The couple own and operate Gold and Silver of Joplin, LLC and work side-by-side in the business.

“I look forward to every day I get to work with my best friend,” said Eric. “She keeps me centered and our business on track. I would do this all again in a heartbeat, especially with Kellie!”

“Eric has always loved the coin business, and we have been in it together for over 25 years,” said Kellie. “Eric’s knowledge about coins, currency and the history of money is endless. His great-grandfather was even an engraver of paper money for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

“We love being together at work every day,” Kellie said. “Some married couples just can’t do it, but we were made for it. Our German shepherd, Stella Jo, is also with us 24/7. For me, getting to watch my husband interact with everyone is just so nice. He lives his life to make others happy and truly cares for everyone. I have never known anyone as wonderful.

“We love going through family collections of coins. He spends the time to make sure a family understands exactly what every piece is and what it’s worth. I am the talker; I enjoy getting to know everyone. We have made so many awesome friends being here in Joplin. We also belong to many clubs and enjoy when our friends come in the store to visit. The best part of my day is every smile he gives me. As corny as it sounds, Eric still makes me feel like that teenager who fell in love with him years ago. God has blessed us in so many ways, and one of the best is getting to enjoy and work with your best friend 24/7.”

February 2023 • • 67
We love being together at work every day. Some married couples just can’t do it, but we were made for it.

A Terrific Team at Home and

D r. Brian Reavley and his wife, Megan, have been a ‘perfect pair’ together in the workplace for nearly a decade, and they likely couldn’t imagine this relationship, both personally and professionally, ever being different at all.

The Reavleys thoroughly enjoy the life they’ve built together as husband and wife while working diligently to make Reavley Dental in Lamar, Missouri, a success.

“We first met working together,” Megan fondly recalls. “We really haven’t known it any other way. It worked from the beginning, and we haven’t considered changing it. We make a good team.”

The way Brian sees it is “we have a good balance of keeping work and our personal lives separate.”

Perhaps what helps them is they worked together about a couple of years or so before deciding to go out together. After that, it was still another two years or so before they officially tied the knot.

While they didn’t rush things, Megan had thoughts about what she wanted and expected in a husband from an early age and says, “Since I was a young girl, I had high standards for the man I was to marry.

“I prayed I would find a man who was smart, responsible, funny, caring and kind, as well as adventurous, outgoing and, of course, handsome. And from day one, Brian checked all those boxes and many more.”

As for what convinced Brian this young woman who had been working with him was the perfect person to marry, he shares, “I knew after Megan said she didn’t want to go hunting with me, but would go shooting, fishing and four-wheeling with me, she was the one.”

Love in the Workplace
Photos by Mandy Edmonson

at Work

Keeping it lighthearted, Brian says Megan “also puts up with my shenanigans, and she thinks I am funny. We make a great team.”

This couple makes a terrific tandem at the office, and Brian says, “There really haven’t been any challenges with us working together. I don’t have to come home and explain what happened in my day at work because Megan already knows.”

In considering the key to making their professional relationship go so beautifully, Brian and Megan both agree it’s “boundaries. Keeping work at work and personal time, personal time.”

The Reavleys have a great appreciation for how they each do their jobs, and Brian recognizes that “Megan is detail-oriented and cares about our patients. She always does what is best for our patients, no matter the trade off.”

Megan, meanwhile, says, “Brian is a great dentist. It is hard to come by a doctor that has a good bedside manner and does good work, but Brian has both skills. He is a great leader, innovative, tech savvy and keeps up with the latest dental technology.”

The Reavleys have every reason to be thrilled with what they’ve teamed up to build and their special partnership in making it successful.

“Going to a dental office is not usually on someone’s favorite list,” Megan admits. “Together, we have worked to create a beautiful office. We have an amazing team, and we all strive to help make it the most comfortable experience for each person who walks through the doors of Reavley Dental.”

Brian assures, “We invest in the important things in our business – patient comfort and atmosphere. I can guarantee we have the nicest and cleanest dental office of any doctor’s office in a 100-mile radius. This is accomplished with our whole team. It takes all nine of us to make this work.”

Brian and Megan have a strong relationship – at home and on the job – that works wonderfully well.

Reavley Dental (Brian & Megan) Fast Facts

Ages: Brian, 40, and Megan, 32

Important Dates: Met in 2014, started dating in 2016 and married May 19, 2018

Pets: Chase, a 10-year-old Alaskan Husky and Preston, a 3-year-old Golden Doodle

Hometowns: Brian was born and raised in Lamar, Missouri; Megan was born in New Port Richey, Florida, and was raised in Nevada, Missouri

High School Alma Maters: Brian: Lamar High School; Megan: Nevada High School

College Alma Maters: Brian: Metropolitan State University of Denver (2007) and University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry (2011); Megan: Midwest Technical Institute (Springfield, Missouri) and Ozark Technical Community College (Springfield, Missouri)

Degrees: Brian: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Doctorate in Dental Surgery, DDS; Megan: Associate of Arts, Dental Assisting Certificate and Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene

Careers: Brian: Dentist/Owner of Reavley Dental; Megan: Certified Dental Assistant and Registered Dental Hygienist at Reavley Dental

Relaxation and Recreation Fun: Megan says, “We enjoy relaxing at home and being with our dogs. When we have time to vacation, we really enjoy going to different ski towns. We love skiing together. We also love roller skating. In April, you can find us hiking through timber for morel mushrooms.” As for Brian, he says, “We enjoy shooting USPSA matches when we can. I enjoy taking care of our chickens and baling hay in the summer. A new place to trout fish is always on our list in the summer.”

February 2023 • • 69

A Perfect Match, a Perfect Wedding

It seems as though trying to make a perfect match between a young man from the Big Apple and a young woman raised in rural Southwest Missouri might not be possible.

Instead, it worked out beautifully, and this newly married couple couldn’t have asked for a more magical, whimsical day when they became husband and wife October 1, 2022.

Making it all the more incredibly breathtaking was having their special day take place at Royalty Events Center, which is owned by Emily’s parents, Richard and Princess Kentner, and located on the picturesque Kentner Farm near Golden City, Missouri.

Things started out in a simple way for this young couple. They met online, and Kevin asked Emily out on a last-minute date.

“It was Kevin’s birthday (May 7, 2019),” Emily said. “We went on our first date to the Red Onion Café in downtown Joplin.”

Emily remembered, “On our first date, he showed up in a suit. He held the door open for me. He walked me to my car. And to this day, he treats me with the utmost respect.

“I fell in love with him first, then his family. They all have welcomed me into the family with open arms. He never tells me no. Even when I brought home Rosie, a rescued English Bulldog, from Golden Paw without consulting him, it made him happy because he knew I was happy.

“He always says, ‘As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.’”

Likewise, it didn’t take Kevin long to figure out this was the right girl for him. “Emily is extremely caring and loving. She showed me she would be willing to do things for me and that her love was unconditional.”

They got engaged about a year and a half later, on Valentine’s Day 2021, and then came the wedding planning, which required the couple to remain calm, cool and collected.

“We took our time,” they both said. “This was the most important

& Emily Ryans

Kevin & Emily Fast Facts

Ages: Kevin, 27, and Emily, 25

Parents: Kevin’s parents are Charles and Naida Ryans; Emily’s parents are Richard and Princess Kentner

Hometowns: Kevin is from Queens, New York; Emily is originally from Lamar, Missouri, and later moved to Golden City, Missouri

High School Alma Maters: Kevin graduated from William C. Bryant High School; Emily graduated from Golden City High School

College Alma Maters: Kevin graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism

Careers: Kevin is a sports anchor at Fox 2 News in St. Louis; Emily is an insurance producer at Kevin Weber State Farm Insurance in Kirkwood, Missouri

Relaxation and Recreation

Fun: Kevin loves to watch sports and spend time with friends; Emily loves to do crafts and play with their dogs Otis and Rosie

The Details

Venue: Royalty Event Center in Golden City, Missouri

Wedding Coordinator: Amanda Robertson’s Wedding Design & Events, Lamar, Missouri

Décor/Event Rentals: Southern Distinction Event Rentals

Photographer: BG Studios Photography

Florist: Ciara’s Floral Designs, Bolivar, Missouri

Cake: Finn’s, Joplin, Missouri

Hair: Stacey Sadler from The One Salon on Main Street, Joplin, Missouri

Makeup: Kelsie Hudson at The Social Beauty Bar

Dress Shop: True Society by Belle Vogue, Kansas City

Dress Designer: Essence of Australia

Cocktail Hour Musician: Scott Eastman, Joplin, Missouri

DJ: Chris Roth, Lamar, Missouri

day of our lives, and we wanted it to be perfect. We met with several different vendors, did a lot of research and took our time deciding what was best for us.

“We also had help from some amazing friends. Tina Brubaker, a family friend from Golden City, and Richard’s sister, Sharon Masterson, made everything possible. But nothing would have been possible without Princess, Emily’s mom. She made sure our day was perfect. We will never be able to thank her enough for everything she does for us.”

Emily was adamant that overcoming any hurdles is all about the ability to “communicate. We planned our entire wedding long distance. So, communication was key. Making sure Kevin was involved as much as possible and scheduling things on days he was able to make it down to Southwest Missouri was important to us.

“As far as the day of the wedding goes, hiring a ‘day of wedding planner’ was the best decision we made. Amanda Robertson made our day go so smoothly and allowed our family to be present and not have to worry about checking in vendors, timing or anything else.”

What helped make it so quaint for Emily was having the venue be Royalty Events Center. “What’s not to love? The location’s wonderful. It sits on the Kentner family farm. In the spring, summer and fall, especially when the weather is great, the outdoor part of it provides an amazing backdrop for pictures and the ceremony.”

It was a majestic day, and Kevin said a big part of making it perfect was “having our families there, in a building that was built by Emily’s family and a place that had so much love and care.

“To have your loved ones around to celebrate and see how much I love Emily only brought both sides of the family even closer.”

While the entire dating, engagement and wedding day intimacy was tremendous, Kevin and Emily remain most grateful as they recognize fully “the fact that through everything we experienced along the way, our love and care for each other has never wavered. We truly do love each other so much.”

February 2023 • • 71

Ultimate Wedding

Augusta Bridal

Augusta Bridal is a bridal shop bringing class and elegance to the Joplin area while staying in-touch with today’s trends and styles. August Bridal offers bridal, bridesmaids, prom gowns and so much more.

Schedule an appointment in the luxury bridal salon and enjoy a fun, stress-free environment of styling and try-ons. Augusta Bridal wants you to feel as if you can conquer the world looking as fabulous as possible and will help you find “the one” dress that will turn heads and bring out your inner beauty. They also offer custom handmade veils and flower crowns.

Owner Taylor Austin is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and brings her knowledge of the fashion industry to 502 South Main Street in Joplin. Schedule your appointment soon by calling 417.553.4888, and let Taylor and her team help you find the dress of your dreams.

Venue 105

Say “I do” in the peace and tranquility of the countryside.

Venue 105 is a beautifully constructed event venue and wedding barn located just outside of Carthage. Surrounded by oak trees and nestled in a serene country setting, Venue 105 offers amazing views inside and out, providing endless possibilities for your wedding day.

At Venue 105, you will find all the amenities of a modern wedding. The white-washed barn features an elegant yet inviting atmosphere with high ceilings, polished concrete, stylish light fixtures and fairy lighting, rustic details and a jaw-dropping chandelier. The 5,000-square-foot, climate-controlled space offers plenty of room to celebrate with all your friends and family. Venue 105 is located at 6960 County Road 105, Carthage, MO. Visit or Facebook: @Venue105. Email: See this beautiful venue in person by scheduling a private viewing today! Phone 417.850.8582

Amadeus Ranch

Venue 105

Amadeus Ranch is a beautiful Tuscan-style venue atop rolling hills in Southwest Missouri. Complete with exposed beams and sparkling chandeliers, our venue can match any wedding style from simple to extravagant. Our outdoor patio, complete with a gorgeous arbor, is the perfect setting for your wedding ceremony or dancing under the stars. We are booking 2023 and 2024 fast but still have availability for any season! We would love to help make your special day worry-free with our packages, which include linens, tableware, decor, vendors, wedding consultation and more! Call, text or email to book a visit to Amadeus Ranch. We look forward to meeting you! 417.850.1042 or 417.850.0980 or email  Check out our website: and find us on Facebook!

Lendonwood Gardens

When planning a wedding at Lendonwood Gardens in Grove, Oklahoma, the beauty of the ceremony is only enhanced by gorgeous flowering plants, towering oaks, richly textured evergreens, and lovely water features. Amenities include a gazebo surrounded by rose gardens, an open-air Japanese pavilion overlooking a koi pond, and numerous spots for memorable photographs on the special day. Open grassy areas allow space for chairs, tables, bands and dancing. Electricity is available at key locations to offer romantic lighting for evening ceremonies and facilitate food service and music. The back entrance of the Gardens is close by, offering easy access for caterers, florists, musicians and those with mobility problems. Restrooms and additional parking also are located near the back entrance.

Lendonwood Gardens looks forward to sharing the beauty of the Gardens on your special day. Please call 918.786.2938 or visit for more information or to reserve a date for your outdoor wedding.


Social Sip

The Social Sip is a mobile bar and bartending company that also specializes in event planning and consulting. With over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, owner Sarah Peavler enjoys customizing the ultimate bar experience for weddings, parties, corporate events and other celebrations. Sarah and her staff pour for heavy hitters such as Harley Davidson, Mercy, Grey Eagle Distributors, Olsson Engineering and The Capitalists Cartel. The Social Sip is dedicated to providing a drink menu curated for your wedding reception. Sarah and her staff have a wide range of knowledge in wine, along with a passion for mixing your favorite cocktails. The Social Sip also carries General and Liquor Liability Insurance. Remember to enjoy responsibly! Located at 1877 W. Mound St., Carthage, MO. Call to schedule The Social Sip at 417.629.7443 or email

Civil War Ranch

Add some country charm to your special day! Whether your style is traditional, country, rustic or chic, the Civil War Ranch offers just the right settings. Take a break from the world’s hectic pace and unwind inside our pre-1900s fully insulated Wedding Barn, gather on the shore of our picturesque spring-fed 2.5-acre pond, celebrate on our beautiful large landscaped Barn Courtyard, relax under our Rose Arbor and Wedding Tree, or picnic in our expansive Pole Barn. We strive to provide value for our couples as well as a beautiful backdrop for their special day. Our full-day rental is from 8 am to 11 pm, and if you book a Friday, you get Thursday included. Maybe you want to save more by booking Monday through Wednesday or want a small, quick wedding with just your closest family. We have that, too.

Browse our gallery and check our prices and availability on our website at Book a tour through our website, Facebook page or by calling 417.237.0771. We can’t wait to hear from you! 11838 Civil War Ave., Carthage MO.

Little Sugar Farm

The Little Sugar Farm is a destination wedding experience unlike any other located in the hills of the Ozarks. We offer unique accommodations for our guests, including seven glamping tents and our heritage farmhouse, and feature multiple gathering spaces with our decks, pastures and beautifully lit barns. Experience a weekend celebrating and spending quality time with the ones you love with the Ozark sky as your backdrop. Whether it be under the stars or as the sun sets over the hills, Little Sugar Farm is the perfect spot for a magical experience to start your story.

For more information, visit or contact us at 214.783.0544.

Royalty Event Center

Royalty Event Center is a beautiful venue to say “I do.” Situated on 326 acres, this spectacular Missouri Century Farm is surrounded by charm and history. There is plenty of room for the wedding of your dreams in the 5,000-square-foot upscale barn with beautiful exposed wood beams. It includes two complete bedrooms upstairs with a full bathroom, which are the perfect bride and groom suites.

The venue offers indoor and outdoor weddings under the decorated arbor area and has a full commercial kitchen for catering and a full bar area complete with beverage coolers and ice machine. It comfortably seats 150 guests for a sit-down dinner.

Dance the night away in the outdoor lighted entertainment area, and have your guests relax around the fire pit.

Royalty Event Center is located at 638 SE 80th Road in Golden City, Missouri. Call 417.276.1040 for more information or visit their Facebook page. They are currently booking 2023 weddings.

February 2023 • • 73

Ultimate Wedding

Stella Springs Weddings & Events

Stella Springs Weddings & Events has all you need to make your wedding day an unforgettable experience. With over 110 acres of lush wooded country, the possibilities are endless for planning a lovely indoor or outdoor event. Our stunning outdoor sites include natural springs, the large Macedonia Springs pond, Indian Creek and a breathtaking waterfall at Macedonia Springs. Our Event Barn is where vintage charm meets romance. With white-washed walls, crystal chandeliers, antique mirrors and an oversized reclaimed mantle, the Barn is the perfect setting for any wedding. The Barn also has an outdoor deck strung with twinkling lights for a warm, romantic glow. Lodging is available in our Rock Cottage and Blue Bunkhouse with our unique weekend package. Visit to peruse images of the beautiful weddings we have hosted at Stella Springs. We are located in Newton County, just outside Neosho. We are now accepting bookings for 2021 and 2022, so call 417.628.3418 to schedule your special date – your Happily Ever After begins here!

Har-Ber Village

Do you like a mixture of old and new? Located minutes from Grove, Oklahoma, Har-Ber Village Event Center offers a park-like setting with rustic backdrops and lake views, with the added ambiance of the Har-Ber Village Museum in its back yard.

The Bridal Dressing Suite is even located inside a log cabin. Our event center is an indoor/ outdoor building with lake views, a stage that offers electricity for a DJ or live band, dance floor, separate ceremony area and indoor restrooms. The event center comfortably seats up to 100 guests with table seating. Our event coordinator can offer help with contacts for onsite catering options, local bakeries, local musicians and photographers to help you make your special day seamless.

Contact us today at 918.786.6446 or email us at Visit our website for more information at

Radiant Glo

Get ready to look your best on your wedding day! Radiant-Glo of Joplin offers a wide variety of beauty and skincare services, including spray tans, semi-permanent makeup and body sculpting treatments. Their Jet Plasma Treatment is a pain-free procedure that is proven to tighten skin by 14.8% after just one visit – plus many other skin benefits. Need to freshen and brighten your skin for your big day? Book a face and neck chemical peel or choose from any of their facial options.

Radiant Glo wants you to feel your best and look your best! They also offer free consultations. Book your appointment at, by calling 417.434.2963 or visiting their location at 1710 East 32nd Street, Suite G1, in Joplin.

River Ranch Resort

Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains on the beautiful Elk River in Noel, Missouri, River Ranch Resort has recently become a destination for weddings. With the addition on the Rendezvous Room, River Ranch can now offer a more complete package.

The Rendezvous Room is a 3,600-square-foot building that can accommodate 150 people. It has a wood-burning fireplace, and one end is glassed-in and overlooks the river. While the Rendezvous Room is a first choice, a second choice would be an outdoor ceremony, and the sky is the limit. Wedding packages include chairs, tables, setup and cleanup for the event. Initial packages allow for four hours, but more time can be arranged. Host and cash bars are also available, and audio and video usage can also be purchased.

For more information and to see catering packages, visit weddings. You can also contact Gary Duke at 417.592.9068 or

February 2023 • • 75
February 2023 • • 77 Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated | Member SIPC & NYSE | Brad R. McIntyre Vice President/Investments Josh DeTar Financial Advisor Associate The M/D Wealth Management Group is located in Joplin, Missouri, and is excited to help you create a customized wealth management plan that aligns with your vast goals and needs. (417) 627-5716 main | (800) 890-7007 toll-free 420 S. Main Street | Joplin, Missouri 64801 M/D Wealth Management Group Stocks | Bonds | Mutual Funds | Annuities | UITs | ETFs | CDs | IRAs Retirement Plans | Financial Planning | Insurance | Estate Planning Wealth Management Built Around You.


February 2023 • • 79

You Need When Building & Remodeling Top10tips

1) Prepare for what you are getting into.

If you have never been through a remodel or, especially, a custom building project, take time to learn the steps of the process. I really like this book When It’s Time To Build - A Guide To The Construction Process: What to expect and questions to ask for a smooth building experience by Thad McKain. You can order it on Amazon. If you don’t want to take the time to read a book, at least do some research and talk to friends who have remodeled or built a home.

2) Put together a design notebook. Spend some time looking through magazines and Pinterest and Houzz and print out pictures of what you like. Buy a large 3-ring binder and some page covers for your pictures and notes. Divide your notebook into sections: front porch, foyer, family room, kitchen, master bath, etc. These pictures will help your contractor know exactly what you are looking for. This will also help you set a budget when it comes time to talk to the professionals and see if what you are dreaming of is something you can afford.

3) Budget! Budget! Budget! Your budget will probably be more than you actually expect. I tell people to plan for a 30 percent overage above what they thought things would cost. So, shop around and get prices on EVERYTHING ahead of time. We wanted large beams in our living room, but we didn’t consider the cost until the framing to hold them in place was already done. When we finally got the cost of the beams, we decided against them and the framing had


to be moved behind the walls so we could have beams at a later date if we decided to, but this cost us extra money. If we knew the cost of the beams beforehand, we could have saved time and money.

4) Look for qualified professionals. Talk to friends and those in the building industry to find a builder or construction company you really feel comfortable with and has a good reputation. Your local chambers of commerce and the home builders association can help with names, but you will want references from these companies. And even check out social

media. Those who have had bad experiences will spend more time posting on social media than those who have had a good experience, and you will want to ask the builder why the bad reviews? They should also know the local building codes and what permits you need without blinking an eye.

5) Plan ahead! When designing a room, make sure to look at the measurements for the room. Will your current furniture fit in there? Are the doors going to swing the right direction? Do I really like that window where it is? All of these things will affect the final design, and these small details can turn into headaches later on. Look for all of your lighting, handles for cabinets, door handles and flooring way ahead. And pick out your paint colors and put it all next to each other on a table or lean it against a wall. Take some photos and look it over for an entire weekend to make sure it is going to flow the way you imagined. You can consider hiring a designer to go over your ideas and help you through the process; part of their job is to consider these fine details.

6) Things will not go smoothly all the time. There will be bumps in the road. Try not to stress too much about things that don’t go smoothly. Just try to get them back on track. The construction process is messy, and for those of us who don’t like dust and dirt, it can be stressful. Just prepare yourself for lots of dirt and dust.

7) Communication. Find the best way to communicate with everyone as a team. We found that a group text between my husband, the builder and me worked the best. If the builder had questions, he could ask us both, and we could get an answer to him right away. However, change orders were also documented in emails, so there was written proof for all of us. I would suggest you send an email after every phone conversation if something changed from the original idea or cost.

8) It will look worse before it looks better. Subcontractors have a way of just leaving their mess behind. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. They will need a place to store tools, so agree on where this can be, if on site. And make sure the house is secure and so are their tools. Ask politely that they clean up after themselves each day and take home their soda cans, cigarette butts, etc., or provide a trash container. If they leave their mess behind, contact the contractor and ask that it be cleaned up.

9) Be a good customer. Don’t get frustrated and yell at or degrade the people working on your home. If they are making a mistake, politely point it out and ask for them to stop and get with your contractor to go over the details. People working on your home are just like everyone else, and they can make mistakes. They are also just like everyone else in that they like to be appreciated. Treats and snacks are always a hit. For early mornings, breakfast burritos and sausage biscuits are always gobbled up. And in the afternoon, I would swing by with cupcakes and lemonade. I couldn’t do it every day, but I tried to take by treats once a week or so.

10) Moving in. Moving is stressful! There will be things that don’t go just where you thought they would. Just set them aside in a closet and give yourself some time to live in the house, and you will find a place for that painting you love. Building and remodeling take a lot of time and effort. Expect to spend an hour or more a day - just on the details of a remodel - and two or more hours a day on a new build.

The key is to be prepared and to stay calm. You will end up with a good building experience and the perfect home for you!

February 2023 • • 83
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February 2023 • • 89
February 2023 • • 91


February isn’t just about love. February is also American Heart Month, which reminds us to take care of our hearts and consider our risk factors. Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the US and accounts for more than 15,000 deaths in Missouri each year.

Everyone is at risk for heart disease. Some risk factors are beyond your control, such as age or family history. Others, like blood pressure and cholesterol, often can be controlled through lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) and/or medication.

The term “heart disease” includes several heart conditions. The most common is coronary artery disease, which occurs when the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, become narrowed and blocked by plaque. Plaque may also rupture and cause blood clots that can block arteries. Coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack.

Heart attacks may happen suddenly, but many people have warning signs, sometimes up to a month before.

You should be familiar with the following warning signs so you can recognize a heart attack early and get help right away:

• Discomfort/pain in center of chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back

• Discomfort in arm(s), back, neck, jaw or stomach

• Shortness of breath

• Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness

• Pain/pressure that occurs with exertion and is relieved with rest Symptoms vary between men and women. Chest pain remains the most common heart attack symptom, but women are more likely than men to experience some

of the other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

For a serious type of heart attack called ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), rapidly administering specific therapies can reduce the risks of complications and death. Reopening the blood vessel as soon as possible decreases the amount of damage that is done to the heart muscle.

Freeman West Hospital is designated as a Level I STEMI Center. This means Freeman has a consistently proven plan and record of dealing with every aspect of STEMI. Freeman is one of only 17 hospitals in Missouri to be classified under the top-level designation. The designation is part of the state’s Time Critical Diagnosis System, which identifies hospitals specially equipped to treat STEMI, stroke and trauma patients and improves both the speed and quality of care.

Freeman also received the 2022 Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI Gold Recognition Award and 2022 Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Receiving Center Gold Plus Award from the American Heart Association. Freeman is one of only 240 hospitals nationwide to receive the American College of Cardiology NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2022. The award recognizes Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients.

Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute provides all cardiac services in one convenient location. Services include preventive care, emergency interventions, diagnostics, open-heart surgeries, structural heart clinic, rehabilitation, cardiology clinics and education.

To learn more about Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute, visit

Health SMTO
Michelle Wolfe, BSN, RN, RCIS Freeman STEMI Coordinator

Parsons, KS

February 9: Grief Companions Support Group meets second Thursday of each month, 6 p.m., Elm Haven West. Call 620.704.1110.

February 14: Breast Cancer Support Group, 3:30 p.m., Cancer Center conference room. Meets second Tuesday of each month. Call 620.235.7516.

Via Christi Hospital - Pittsburg, KS

February 22: Cancer Support Group, 3 p.m., Cancer Center conference room. Meets fourth Wednesday of each month. Call 620.235.7900.

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. Call 417.623.9645.

February 14: Brain Injury Support Group meets every second Tuesday, 12-1:30 p.m., The Independent Living Center, 2639 E. 34th. Contact 417.659.8086 for information and referral.

February 22: Grief Support Group meets every 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.

February 2: Freeman Early Detection Screenings, by appointment, Freeman Screen Team Resource Center, 1130 E. 32nd St., Ste. C. Early Detection Screenings include abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, and stroke/carotid artery screenings, as well as osteoporosis risk assessment. Fees vary. Call 417.347.6555 for an appointment.

February 7: Expresso 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, and form new friendships. Enjoy listening to a special guest from time to time. RSVP to Marcella at 417.347.2662.

February 7: AHA Family and Friends CPR, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Freeman Screen Team Resource Center, 1130 E. 32nd St., Ste. C. Friends & Family CPR is open to the community. This is not a certification course, but a participation card will be given. Class will cover adult, child and infant CPR, choking and AED techniques. Cost of course is $25. To register, call Shelby Allen at 417.347.5646.

February 8: Freeman Cancer Support Group, 2-3 p.m., Freeman Cornell-Beshore Cancer Institute, 3415 McIntosh Circle. Call Lisa Paugh or Kelley Wheeler at 417.347.4000 for more information.

February 10: Galentine’s Day Sip & Shop, 4-8 p.m., Ramsay Event Center, 107 E. 6th St. Grab your gals for a guilt-free ladies’ night out! The evening includes shopping while enjoying delicious libations from our food and beverage partners. This event will raise money for the Freeman Helping Friends Mammogram Fund, which provides mammogram screenings to local women in need. Tickets can be purchased at For more information call, 417.347.4624 or email

February 16: Freeman Caregiver Support Group, 1-2:30 p.m., Joplin Senior Center, 2616 S. Picher Ave. Are you a caregiver interested in having a safe haven to share your feelings? Receive information about resources and coping mechanisms, gain advice on what lies ahead, make new friends and learn how to deal with family members. Door prizes will be given out. RSVP to Kathy Mason at or 417.347.8463.

February 21: 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.

February 21: 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 417.347.1266.

February 27: Freeman Blood Drive, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Freeman Business Center Conference Rooms, 3220 McClelland Blvd (back entrance). Save a life. Donate blood. Appointments are strongly encouraged to manage donor flow. To schedule your appointment, call 417.227.5006 or go to For more information, call 417.347.4603.

National Alliance on Mental Illness - For information on NAMI, call 417.781.6264 or visit Meetings held at the NAMI building, 219 W. 2nd St., in Joplin.

Every Monday: NAMI Basics, 6-8:30 p.m. A signature education program for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses.

Every Tuesday: NAMI Connection Support Group, 6:30-8 p.m.

Every Tuesday: Self Injury Support Group, 5-6 p.m.

Every Tuesday: Family Support Group, 6:30-8 p.m.

Every Wednesday: Dual Diagnosis Support Group, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Every Wednesday: Post-5/22 Stress Counseling Sessions, 10 a.m.

Every Thursday: Family to Family Class, 6:30-8:30 p.m. For families or caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses. Includes current information about most major mental illnesses; information about medications, side effects and strategies for medication adherence; developing strategies for handling crises and relapse; focusing on care for the caregiver.

February 2023 • • 93


For the Love of Riding

The couple that rides bikes together stays together, right?

Perry and Debbie Johnson, owners of Bicycle Specialists and avid bike riders for many years, are proving that to be true despite their differences when it comes to why they ride.

“Debbie rides her bike from home to work as often as possible,” Perry said. “There’s nothing better than a leisurely ride to work for her. But I use cycling as a social event and to get outside and take in all the surroundings and live large.” But they both agree the bikes bring physical and mental tune-ups. Debbie said, “We cycle to promote and encourage others to participate in cycling for enjoyment, health and transportation.”

The couple also share their love of the sport by serving as coaches to an interscholastic mountain bike team of sixth to 12th graders who participate in races at five different venues each summer and fall. “We actively still mountain bike race,” Debbie said. “And we also support area non-profit events like triathlons and 5K races.”

Runners appreciate having the Johnsons’ bike shop available and often look to bike riding as an alternative to running. “It changes up the exercise and the mindset and gives them a different view of the outdoors,” said Perry. “Cycling helps with running, and running is a great cross training for cycling. And physicians, physical therapists and orthopedic doctors send their patients to us for help with the rehabilitation of a knee or hip replacement or repair.”

Debbie said, “A body in motion stays in motion, and breathing deep for oxygenation and sweating for cleansing is all a great way to manage stress and good health.”

The Johnsons cite balance, mental clarity, energy and healthy habits as some of the benefits they personally receive from cycling. “I’d add the making friends and memories that will live with us forever to that list,” said Debbie. Their time riding together allows them to focus their thoughts on peace, calmness and the beauty of nature around them.

“Plus, Debbie and I know that it keeps muscles strong, stress levels down and weight in check,” Perry said. “That way we can enjoy some of the sweets.” The couple encourage people to participate in cycling for the enjoyment, pleasure and health of it. And not necessarily to win a race. “Just enjoy the ride,” said Perry. “And just do anything to keep active and healthy. Get a bike regardless of brand or cost, just make sure it fits properly for comfort and safety. We do perform a FIT service at the bike shop to make sure your ride is the best possible and to prevent injury. And Debbie always tells her customers to go out and ride just a few miles at first, even if it’s down the block and back. This way, you will not get discouraged and give up when there are hard days.”

“Cycling promotes balance, mental clarity, energy and healthy habits.”
Debbie Johnson
February 2023 • • 95

Neosho, MO

February 27: Caregivers Support Group meets the fourth Monday of each month, 5-6 p.m., Medicalodge, 400 Lyon Drive. Help with care, finances, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, respite care, hospice care, day care and support for the caregivers. Sponsors: Avalon Hospice and Medicalodges Neosho. Call 417.451.2544. Nevada, MO

February 20: Community Blood Drive, 1-6 p.m. Join us for a community-wide blood drive in the Mezzanine Conference Room at the hospital. All blood collected through this drive will remain in our area and will assist Nevada Regional Medical Center in meeting its needs. To register, call 417.448.2101.

February 28: Rich Hill Family Medical Clinic Screenings, 11 a.m.noon, Kern Senior Center. Free screenings every fourth Tuesday of the month: blood pressure, plus this month’s focus screening: bone density. Takes place at the Kern Senior Center in Rich Hill. Integris Baptist Regional Health Center, Grove, OK

February 8 & 22: 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.

INTEGRIS Baptist Regional Health Center, Miami, OK - 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.

February 7: Alzheimer’s Support Group meets first Tuesday monthly, 11 a.m., Generations fourth floor visiting room. Call 918.542.3391.

Crisis Text Line Text 741741

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

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Forget boring salads! Take your tastebuds on an adventure with this combination of crispy bacon, nutty pecan pieces, salty feta cheese and juicy apples. Then top it off with a delectable red onion dressing that will have you doing double takes - could there be raspberries in there? Enjoy every mouthwatering bite!

Bacon, Apple, Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad


4 cups lettuce mix

2 apples, chopped

8 bacon pieces, cooked and chopped

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

½ cup feta cheese

1 tsp poppy seeds



½ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp dry mustard

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ small red onion

½ cup olive oil

Combine lettuce mix, apples, bacon, pecans and feta cheese in a large bowl. Add the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

February 2023 • • 97

Grant Will Help Establish Recovery-friendly Workplaces

With the help of a $7,000 grant from internet and cable provider Sparklight, Ascent Recovery Residences and the Recovery Outreach Community Center (ROCC) is going to help businesses establish recovery-friendly workplaces.

The Peer Recovery Center of Excellence (housed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City) produced a toolkit titled Recovery Friendly Workplace. It notes that recovery is a good thing for business, and that employers are realizing the value of being better informed about substance abuse. By becoming proactive, employers are recognizing the economic and cultural benefits of supporting those who are in recovery or seeking help.

Here are some facts from the toolkit: Employees who get effective substance use treatment and recovery support can, on average, avoid $8,817 in annual costs.

Employees in recovery take less unscheduled leave than their colleagues. On average, they miss 13.7 fewer work days than employees with an active substance use disorder and 3.6 fewer work days than an average employee.

Employees in recovery stay with their employers at almost identical rates as their coworkers. And, compared to those with active addictions, employees in recovery can save their organization up to $4,000 in turnover and replacement costs.

Employees in recovery save an average of $536 per year in healthcare utilization costs compared to those with an untreated substance use disorder.

Teddy Steen, executive director of ASCENT Recovery Services, said the money would be used to develop videos and printed material to inform businesses of the value of recoveryfriendly workplaces. The grant will also help

facilitate a new endeavor by The ROCC to work with local businesses as both a recovery resource for employees and to help create a recovery-friendly work environment.

“We want to reach out to those small and medium businesses that don’t have a full HR department,” Steen said. “I don’t know that businesses realize how much money they lose on substance abuse over the course of the year like missing work and accidents. We’re going to try to bring in businesses and help them to build more recovery-friendly workplaces.”

Employers have felt the impact of substance misuse for decades through absenteeism, loss of productivity, safety issues and poor job performance. Through recovery-friendly workplaces, a number of things can be accomplished. Stigma associated the disease can be fought along with encouraging employees to get help sooner by providing resources. Those resources can include meeting people where they are and supporting their own unique recovery path. It’s important to find the right path and encourage employees to find what works best for them.


Cheese it! Snacking for nutrition

Cheese is a tricky food. It’s calorically very dense, is high in fat and often has high amounts of sodium; however, there are many types of cheese, and for each kind, there’s a different nutrition label. While different types of, say, cheddars will look very similar, cheddar might be high in fat and sodium while Swiss is comparatively low in both (again, comparatively), meaning incorporating cheese into a healthy lifestyle might be more possible than some think. Some people have specific dietary needs that make cheese a poor fit for them, so always check with your doctor or a nutritionist before changing your eating habits.

With that out of the way, why would you want to eat more cheese? Well, maybe you don’t want to eat more cheese, but if you avoid cheese because of the negatives I’ve listed above, it might be good to reconsider. There are some almost universal benefits to cheese: it’s a good source of calcium, and if you have a hard time getting enough protein, snacking on cheese can be a great way to help you reach your goal – and cheese such as cottage and ricotta have whey protein, making them a good choice to help build muscle.

One of the heavy hitters in cheese is Swiss, as mentioned before. Compared to most other cheeses, Swiss typically has lower fat, lower sodium, lower carbs and higher protein than other popular cheeses while still being a good source of calcium and protein. There is a reason Swiss gets paired with turkey so much, and that’s because it is one of the healthier cheeses you can choose. If you want to get more cheese or get a healthier kind of cheese but don’t want to spent a lot of time checking nutrition labels, defaulting to Swiss is a solid strategy.

Of course, one huge risk of cheese is how well it pairs with many other foods, many of which aren’t good for you. It’s easy to reach for a carb-heavy food such as crackers when you’re enjoying some cheese, but remember cheese is already very calorie dense, and many types of breads, crackers and other carb-heavy foods don’t have a very good nutrition-to-calorie ratio, so you’ll be taking on a lot of calories without a whole lot of diverse benefit. Depending on your tastes and preferences, it’s much better to pair cheese with meats and fruits, so even if you’re getting a lot of calories, there’s still a better mix of vitamins and nutrients you’ll be getting.

And obviously, when I say it might be a good idea to get more cheese into your diet, I don’t mean the foods you see on social media that are just oozing with cheese, so don’t even go there.

While cheese can be an extremely unhealthy food if eaten at a large quantity, there are so many factors to it that most of us can work it in to our diets without much health risk. Carefully reading nutrition labels and watching your scale and other vitals is important to making sure you aren’t overdoing it, but adding a little bit of cheese to your diet can give you some more diverse nutrition and some awesome flavors.

February 2023 • • 99

The Great


FEBRUARY How to enjoy

At times, February is cold and hard. It is important to challenge ourselves to get outdoors. Move your body and mind. Seek to find beauty and joy even in the darkest, coldest days. What matters this month is not what you do to get outdoors but that you get outdoors. Most importantly, do not forget to have fun!

My favorite February thing to do is to sit around a campfire. I love watching the flames dance, the sparks float upward into the sky and the smell of wood smoke. It is even better if there is snow on the ground.

You can also get outdoors and listen to nature noises. Wind blowing through the trees, water flowing in a creek. Coyotes howling, owls hooting and crows calling. Use your smartphone to record the sounds you hear so you can enjoy them later.

When outdoors in the cold, take a moment to look up and take three deep breaths. In the cold, it is so easy to go, go, go without noticing the natural world around you.

Watch a February sunrise or sunset. Both are beautiful and especially so if they reflect on the snow. It is a time for taking lots of pictures with your smartphone. If snow is on the ground, take a snow hike on one of our many hiking trails.

Make or buy a bird feeder, fill it with bird seed and put it where you can watch the birds come in to feed. The birds need that extra source of energy you provide to help get them through February. You will also enjoy watching birds come into the feeder you made for them.

We usually have some mild days in February when you can even go fishing on area lakes and rivers. Take your binoculars to look for

eagles out fishing or perched on a limb in all their majesty.

After doing all these things, you suddenly realize you made it through February and enjoyed it. Now, look forward to March and plan more adventures to nurture yourself in the great outdoors.


Rainbow trout become lethargic in the cold, flowing water of winter. They will not be aggressive but will eat whatever comes near them. Get your baited hook or fly close and offer them something they just cannot resist. Try using a variety of spoons in deep pools

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.

or warm pockets of water where rainbows may be holding. Learning to read the water is very important during winter. Spinners emit a flash as they move through the water, but the vibration is different and can entice a sluggish rainbow into checking out your offering. Get the spinner close enough to entice them without scaring them away.

If you are fly fishing, nymphs and other wet flies are usually the best bet during winter. Lighter lines or leaders can also help during winter if you are fishing in clear water.

Fishing between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. is best because the water warms some during these hours. Warmer water means less sluggish rainbows. Fishing may be slow, but dress warmly for the weather and enjoy a winter rainbow.


Did you know the minnow family is made up of 1,600 species and is one of the largest on earth? Did you know sensory organs in the feet of bobwhite quail help detect vibrations in the ground from footsteps made by an approaching predator?

Did you know deer and other nocturnal animals have a thin membrane of tendon- like tissue at the rear of the eyeball that bounces light through the eye’s nerve layer twice? That

enhances their ability to see in dim conditions. Anyone who drives in deer country has seen this at work as the eyes reflect the lights of a vehicle’s headlights in a pair of telltale, glowing green orbs.

Did you know fossil records from more than five million years ago show that salmon in the Pacific Ocean once grew to five feet long and weighed over 250 pounds? Can you imagine those guys migrating upriver?


Hunting rabbits was a tradition when I was growing up. They were a training tool for young hunters. Deer, scarce back then, are now abundant and the most sought-after species. In some places, they now outnumber rabbits.

Add to this the lack of organized groups of sportsmen to champion the preservation of rabbit habitat and no popular rabbit-hunting TV shows, blogs or YouTube videos. As houses and shopping centers replace farms and fields and more people move to cities, rabbit hunting continues to decrease.

There are no rabbit hunting guides, no rabbit hunting lodges and no camo manufacturer or outdoor store promoting a new rabbithunting camo pattern.


I used to try to decide which was the worst month of the year. In the winter, I would choose February. God made February short a few days because he knew that by the time people came to the end of February, they would die if they had to stand one more blasted day.

Not many farm kids depend on their shotgun and two shells to bring home the evening meal.

That is a shame because it is kind of sad to lose such a valuable tradition. It is a fun and challenging activity for young and old alike. There are rabbits still out there, and they are still fun to hunt and eat. It is up to you to continue the tradition. You have until February 15 to try rabbit hunting. After that, rabbit season is closed until October 1.


I heard some researchers have discovered that people who enjoy the outdoors are healthier and happier than those who do not. That was probably some government-funded study using our tax dollars. All of us who love the outdoors did not need any kind of research to tell us that. We already knew it.

February 2023 • • 101 Hey, that’s a pretty good looking magazine you’ve got there. Hey, that’s a good looking magazine you’re holding. Who printed that? Gibso n prin t so ur ce est. 1 999 Publications, catalogs, labels, packaging, boxes, banners & more. Ed Gibson | 417-895-9049 | With over 30 years in the business, we have the expertise you need. Proud partner of Show Me the Ozarks for over a decade!


We don’t use the portrayal of love in terms of wildlife. Naturalists and biologists who are versed in animal behavior may refer to courtship and behavior rituals (some very elaborate) when talking about mammals, birds, fishes, etc. Often, the courtship observed in wildlife has similarities as in humans, mainly to see if the pair likes the company of the other and they are compatible in building a household together.

We are in the dead of winter, but as far as wildlife is concerned, spring is at hand. Pairing off and reproduction starts early in the year for many species with increasing daylight and temperature changes often being the catalyst.

Rodents, whether under the leaf litter like white-footed mice and woodland voles to gray squirrels in our tree canopies, are smooching and exchanging nuptial gifts prior to Valentine’s Day.

Landlords of eastern bluebirds realize the first nesting may happen now, so it’s time to clean existing or put up new bluebird nest boxes.

February is known for Valentine’s Day. The holiday is centered in the middle of the month, giving spouses, grandparents, girlfriends and boyfriends plenty of time to prepare something special for their loved ones. And for us, the heart-filled holiday may linger to later weekends or days off work to manage nice dinners, theater or a get-away that fits our schedules well along in the month.

Lastly, our native stream fishes react drastically to slight changes in the water’s temperature and lingering daylight. Darters and shiners take on a rainbow of colors, depending on their species. Southern red-bellied dace is my all-time favorite of stream life. Their colors of red and yellow are a swirl of hue-induced designs in the gravel shallows. They mark one of the riches people of the outdoors treasure!

The natural sounds of Valentine’s Day will certainly include the pulsing of our spring peeper frogs, the soft calls of the bluebirds and screech owls as they call to

Field notes by Jeff Cantrell; photos courtesy of the Missouri Dept. of Conservation

seek mates. I’ve mentioned in previous Show Me The Ozarks magazines that Missouri owls (great horned, barred and screech owls) are our earliest nesters. Screech owls are our smallest year-round resident owls and are less common than the other two but may still be found in suitable habitats and where insecticides are rarely used.

The little owl has set up housekeeping by our Valentine’s Day. The parents are busy tending to guarding their territory and continue courting through the incubation of their eggs to the hatching owlets. The sound of screech owls is a favorite of mine; they often trill and make a whinny or neighing sound (like imagining a miniaturized horse). This beautiful night sound has been dubbed into television and movie soundtracks probably more than any other native sound. We may hear their call trilling through the night when we are night fishing or camping; the timespan around Valentine’s Day grants us the little screech owls singing in duet and announcing housekeeping is underway.

Enjoy this month of relationships and cool behaviors in nature. Our natural world is truly a heart-felt gift for all of us naturalists. I hope to see you out and taking part of our trails and waters. – Jeff

Jeff Cantrell is an outdoor educator and naturalist. He is stationed at MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center in Joplin, Missouri. He may be reached at

February 2023 • • 103 TICKS A part of

Your Realtor FOR LIFE Winning the House You Fall in Love With

Congratulations! You have found you’re head over heels in love with a house. This house speaks to your heart and addresses all of your must-have items for a new home. The home you and your realtor found is the style you like, with the dream kitchen you desire and the perfect yard. This is your forever home. Now, what do you do to secure your happily-ever-after home? Here are four tips for what to do when you find a home you love. The first step is to contact your realtor to set up a showing. More than likely, what you have seen so far has been online. The National Association of Realtors reports that almost half of all home searches begin on the internet. Online listings have improved over the years, with better photography and video tours. But it’s not until you finally step into an actual home that you can get a better sense of how the rooms flow and if the pictures do true justice to a house.

Despite the fact that half of all initial searches often begin online, once buyers are really serious, nearly 88 percent of prospective buyers work with a real estate agent (National Association of Realtors). Now, it’s time to have your realtor get you in the door. This is when you’ll see not just the house but the neighborhood, as well. So, step one is to request a showing.

Step two is to educate yourself about the home. Both home buying and love have one thing in common: it can be an emotional rollercoaster. Think about it: A new home is also a commitment to a longtime relationship. It’s really the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Your realtor will work as your educator, pointing out important thoughts to consider. Is the price fair? What are the ongoing costs of the home, including taxes and any possible homeowner association fees? Does the price reflect current market values and comparable units currently listed and recently sold? Find out the age of the roof and mechanicals. If they are nearing end of life, these will be items to budget for in regards to future costs. These can also be items for negotiation.

Position yourself as a strong and serious buyer. There’s no sugarcoating it. In competitive markets, homes get snapped up quickly, and you’ll likely be competing with cash buyers.

Your best strategy is to position yourself as a strong buyer who’s serious about getting to the closing table. Start preparing for a competitive market before you even begin your home search. That way, when you find a home you love, you’ll be ready and able to make a confident offer. Step three in winning the house you’ve fallen in love with is to increase your buying power. The key to winning the house you love begins with having all of your financial affairs in order. This will start with obtaining a pre-qualification letter from your lender, stating what you have been approved to spend. If you are paying with cash, have a source-of-funds letter stating you have access to a certain amount of funds. This can come from your bank, credit union or financial planner, or through your investment accounts. Armed with your prequalification documents, now you can make an offer that shows merit. The fourth step in winning the house you love is to make a strong offer. We are entering our third year of a unique housing market. Inventory remains low, meaning you will face more competition from other prospective buyers. Now is when your realtor is your best ally, or Cupid, in helping you win the home of your dreams.

Your real estate agent will have access to what comparable homes are listing for and what they are actually selling for. Your realtor will suggest certain strategies that may make your offer more attractive than a competing offer, such as increasing earnest money or being flexible on closing and possession dates.

Finally, relax. You are in good hands with your local professional realtor. We gladly play the role of Cupid every day! We love helping you find and win the home of your dreams. Happy house-hunting and Happy Valentine’s Day!


Articles inside

Your Realtor FOR LIFE Winning the House You Fall in Love With

page 106


pages 104-105

FEBRUARY How to enjoy

pages 102-103

Cheese it! Snacking for nutrition

page 101

Grant Will Help Establish Recovery-friendly Workplaces

page 100

WHY WE RIDE For the Love of Riding

pages 96-99


pages 94-95

You Need When Building & Remodeling Top10tips

pages 84-85, 87-90, 93

Ultimate Wedding

pages 76-81

Ultimate Wedding

pages 74-75

A Perfect Match, a Perfect Wedding

pages 72-73

at Work

page 71

A Terrific Team at Home and

page 70

Love in the Workplace Love Written in the Stars

pages 68-70

Reflect on a Marriage Made in Heaven

pages 66-67

Second Time Around

pages 63-66

Tron Peterson

page 62

Brandon Wilkeman

pages 60-62

Sydney Adams

page 60

Richard Crouch

page 59

JD Buckridge

pages 58-59

Tessla DiMaggio

page 58

AURORA: Where All Roads Lead Home Every Day

pages 54-55

Contractors Owner Thad Hood Loves All Monett Has to Offer

pages 52-53

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Grove, OK HAR-BER VILLAGE MUSEUM Has Strong ‘History’ with Grove

pages 50-51

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Grove, OK LIVING THE GRAND LIFE Provides Fun, Excitement in Grove

pages 48-49

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Lamar PLAZA THEATRE, BARCO DRIVE-IN Provide Entertainment in Lamar

pages 46-47

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Pittsburg, KS Take a Walk on the Awe-Inspiring Side Through PSU Walking Tour

pages 44-45

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Neosho Construction Services Group a ‘Family-First’ Company

pages 42-43

PAYAM SHARIFI provides Carthage with food, fun at Kascade Steakhouse

page 41

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Carthage

page 40

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Carl Junction Joshua Howard is Happy to Live, Work in Carl Junction

pages 38-39


pages 36-37

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Joplin first community bank Thrilled to be Part of Joplin Community

pages 34-35

FOR THE LOVE OF. . . Joplin Celebrating 25 years of l ve from Ronald McDonald House

pages 32-33

One24 Boutique Fashion Forward

pages 28-31

ShowMe Dining Guide

pages 26-27

ShowMe Dining Guide

pages 24-25

Just A Taste

page 23

Where it’s ‘COOL’ to be YOU!

pages 22-23

EVENTS Northeast OK

pages 20-21

February performances to Love

pages 18-19

What’s Happening Calendar of Events SMTO

pages 14-17

Things We Love ...

pages 12-13
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