The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 5, 2013

Kansas department to take on operation of Galena nature center

GALENA, Kan. — An official with Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism said Tuesday afternoon that the department has been approved to take over operations of the Southeast Kansas Nature Center at Schermerhorn Park.

It will be the second nature center the department will operate; the other is in Junction City.

What remains now is completing a written agreement with the center’s board, which must be approved by the Galena City Council, and hiring a director. The state began advertising Tuesday for the position; the deadline to apply is March 15.

The center’s founder, Linda Phipps, a former Galena teacher, currently heads it up. She spearheaded a $60,000 restoration project paid for through grass-roots fundraising efforts. She’s relied largely on volunteers, donations and grants to keep the center going since it opened in 2004.

Phipps, now retired and wanting more time with her family, first proposed two years ago that the state take over its operations. The plan was rejected, primarily because of funding issues the state was facing at the time.

She again pitched the idea to a group of KDWP&T officials in a December meeting at the center. It was receptive, and the plan worked its way up the chain of command.

“It was what we have been hoping for for a long time,” Phipps said. “I feel like this will ensure that the nature center will go on when some of our key people are not there any longer. It’s the answer to a prayer. Or lots of prayers, maybe.”

It’s great news for Galena and for the center, Mayor Dale Oglesby said of KDWP&T assuming operations.

“We think it’s an exciting opportunity to improve the park and to take it to the next level, including new educational aspects,” he said. “We’re looking forward to working with the state on this.”

He said Galena city officials, Phipps and representatives from the center’s board will meet with KDWP&T representatives in coming weeks to draft the memorandum of understanding; no date has been set.

KDWP&T Wildlife Education Coordinator Mike Rader said there will be no disruption of services and operations at the center will continue mostly as they have, although the new director may have additional ideas for programs.

“We want to maintain the involvement of the board and Linda,” he said. “Of course we will have final say on operations, but we’d like to keep them in an advisory capacity,” Rader said.

A large event already planned at the park this spring may be the director’s first formal introduction to the public: The Kansas Herpetological Society will camp April 26-28 in order for some 100 to 150 members to conduct a survey of the reptiles and amphibians there, many of which have been on the state’s threatened and endangered species list.


Phipps estimates the center has had some 20,000 to 30,000 visitors since it opened, including frequent field trips from schools in Baxter Springs, Riverton, Pittsburg, Frontenac, Quapaw, Webb City and Carl Junction.


Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter