From staff reports

WEBB CITY, Mo. - Webb City officials and residents will gather for a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to mark the expansion and renovation of the Webb City Public Library at the library, 110 S. Liberty St.

The Friends of the Library, a group of volunteers and donors, will have its annual meeting after the groundbreaking. Lisa Sweet, president of the group, said the organization, which has about 50 members, is always looking for more people to get involved.

"This is an exciting time for the Webb City Public Library, and participation in the Friends of the Library is going to be crucial for the continued success of the library and the services we offer the patrons," Sweet said.

What: Annual meeting of Friends of the Library.

When: 11 a.m. Saturday.

Where: The Clubhouse, 115 N. Madison Ave.

Cost: $5 per person.

Reservations: Lisa Sweet, 673-3790.

The library is temporarily operating out of a trailer at 206 W. Broadway St. while workers remodel and expand the building. The library's hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Most of the library's materials are housed in a nearby warehouse. Items may be requested from storage in person, by e-mailing info@webbcitylibrary.com or by calling 673-4326.

Webb City voters approved a one-eighth-cent sales tax in August 2002 to provide $2 million for the renovation and expansion. The $1,874,000 project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2004.

Globe reporter Jeff Wells may be reached at jwells@joplinglobe.com, or 623-3480, ext. 7362.

New development on panel agenda

A major intersection on South Main Street in Joplin will undergo a facelift soon in more than one way.

First, there is the construction of a shopping center. Then, there is the future widening of 32nd Street.

The owners of the Book Barn, 3128 Main St., have gradually acquired all the lots in the 3100 block of 32nd Street, between Main Street and Joplin Avenue. A shopping center is to be built there, with the Book Barn as one of the tenants.

As part of the project, the developer wants the city to vacate 31st Street to have more room for the new building and parking. The extra room is especially important because the city intends take some of the Book Barn property for the future widening of 32nd Street, according to the developer.

But the proposal has drawn some opposition from neighboring property owners.

The Zoning and Planning Commission has scheduled a special meeting Monday to conduct a public hearing on the request.

After the hearing, the commission will decide whether to recommend to the Joplin City Council approval or denial of vacating the street.

When: 4 p.m. Monday.

Where: Civil defense dining room in the basement of City Hall, 303 E. Third St.

A written protest to vacating the street has been filed by John Butler, owner of Southtown Sporting Goods, 3030 Main St.

"The city is going to redo the intersection at 32nd, and we're afraid they're (drivers) are going to use our parking lot and alley as a driveway" to get to the new shopping strip, said Richard Ramsey, manager of the sporting-goods store, which has been located there since the mid-1960s.

Troy Bolander, with the city's zoning and planning department, said the public hearing is open to anyone who wishes to speak in favor or against vacating the street.

Staff writer Debby Woodin may be reached at dwoodin@joplinglobe.com, or 623-3480, ext. 7262.

Naturalist to give songbird seminar

The song of the wood thrush is disappearing in the Ozarks.

The wood thrush and other neotropical songbirds are on the decline in the Ozarks and the Midwest because of habitat destruction at the wintering grounds in Central and South America, as well as habitat and environmental problems with their nesting grounds in North America, according to Missouri Department of Conservation naturalist Jeff Cantrell.

"Half of our birds are these migratory birds," said Cantrell, who will offer a seminar on the subject this week.

What: Neotropical songbird seminar.

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Walter Woods Conservation Area, south of Joplin on Dutch Elm Road.

Cost: Free.

Registration required: Joplin office of the Missouri Department of Conservation, 629-3423.

Some songbirds have only a quarter of the population that was seen in Missouri 30 years ago, Cantrell said.

Staff writer Andy Ostmeyer may be reached at aostmeyer@joplinglobe.com, or 623-3480, ext. 7281.

Swap meet plans grand opening

CARTHAGE, Mo. - Route 66 between Carthage and Joplin is getting a new roadside attraction.

The Route 66 Outdoor Swapmeet, now in its third week, will feature antiques, collectibles, new and used merchandise, and garage-sale items.

When: Dawn to dusk Saturdays and Sundays.

Where: Old Route 66 Boulevard, a half-mile west of the Route 66 Drive-In.

Information: (417) 388-0694.

Admission: Free.

"We're open every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting,'' said Marie Vacenovsky, one of the owners.

A large table at the swap meet can be rented for $2 a day. Some tables with enclosed canopies are available.

"They can set up their merchandise on Friday afternoon and camp with it, or pack it up and go home, and then come back the next day," she said. "We've had a lot of people who have called wanting to set up a table."

The swap meet will have a grand opening on Saturday. Hot dogs, soft drinks and cotton candy will be given away.

Reporter Wally Kennedy may be reached at wkennedy@joplinglobe.com, or 623-3480, ext. 7250.

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