The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

June 20, 2012

‘Friendliest city’ judges getting tour of Joplin

Group to be here through Friday

JOPLIN, Mo. — After mining the Joplin Museum Complex for the city’s lead and zinc mining history, Robert Schatz and Jennifer Jordon licked a tough assignment at the Candy House Chocolate Factory on Wednesday.

Joplin is one of six finalists in the Rand McNally/USA Today “Best of the Road” contest for friendliest small city in the country. Schatz and Jordon, nicknamed the Rogue Riders, are the judges for the category, and they arrived Wednesday.

They are seasoned travelers already. They have lived in Denver, Los Angeles and New Orleans, and have taken trips on the West Coast and to Pensacola, Fla., in the past 18 months.

Jordon said that while they like to travel as a hobby, they also move around to do work in the television production industry.

“Our trips were kind of work, kind of fun and kind of adventure, all rolled up in one,” Jordon said.

The “Best of the Road” contest has five categories. Other categories are most beautiful, most fun, most patriotic and best food. Teams of amateur travel bloggers like the Rogue Riders dash across the country visiting the finalists. They will decide winners in each category and announce them at the Destination Marketing Association International convention next month in Seattle.

Along the way, they blog and post videos and photographs about the places they visit. One team will win a $10,000 prize for its work. The cities that prevail in the various categories will be highlighted in the Rand McNally atlas and can use their victories to promote themselves.

Early start

The team’s visit started Wednesday with a sunrise hot-air balloon ride to provide a view of the Shoal Creek valley around McIndoe Park. It was too windy for the balloon to take off, and organizers with the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau opted to send the judges up for a tethered ride.

Around the corner from McIndoe Park, they toured Cycle Connection to get a feel for hitting the road on two wheels.

After that, they were welcomed to City Hall by representatives of most city departments.

“It has been a spectacular day already,” Jordon told the city employees who waved city flags as they introduced themselves.

At the Joplin Museum Complex, Director Brad Belk led them on a tour of Joplin’s ore collection as well as local history exhibits. Local artist Linda Lindquist Baldwin presented them with her “Snickles Survivors,” her papier-mache characters that were found after the 2011 tornado destroyed most of the work she had in storage. Their visit would not have been complete without a visit by Percy Katz, the museum’s feline mascot, who approached for the obligatory pat on the head.

During their visit to the Candy House, they joked about being probationary employees as they learned to dip strawberries.

“I am literally a kid in a candy store,” Schatz said, mugging for the camera, before he learned the technique of dipping. He mastered the first dip. On the second, he pulled the fat, red berry from the smooth chocolate and chomped off a big bite.

“You’re fired,” Jordon teased, pointing at the half-eaten berry.

Later in the day, they visited Cunningham Park.

AmeriCorps volunteer Angela Rineer, 24, of Reading, Pa., was one of the people who went to the park to greet the judges. She arrived in Joplin 10 days ago to help manage an influx of new volunteers. She said 1,000 volunteers are arriving daily to work on Joplin’s recovery.

“It is so welcoming here,” Rineer said of Joplin. “Everyone is filled with such hope and happiness in spite of what happened here just a year ago. It has been such an awesome experience.”

Jordon said her first day in Joplin was an emotional one.

“It’s definitely inspiring to see the community come together,” she said. “Everyone has taken such a tragedy and turned it into something good.”

The Rogue Riders’ travels can be followed on the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s page on Facebook. They also can be found online at www.bestoftheroad.com. They will be in Joplin through Friday.

In the running

JOPLIN WILL BE COMPETING against Murray, Ky.; Frisco, Texas; College Station, Texas; Cloudcroft, N.M.; and San Luis Obispo, Calif.

THE JUDGING TEAM MEMBERS visited Murray before coming to Joplin. They were greeted there with a cookout in a park. They took tours by plane and boat, and watched cliff divers. “Excellent local food,” they said of Murray.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • 041614 MDOT5_72.jpg JATSO recommends 15 road projects for planning

    The reconstruction of the Highway 171/Interstate 49 interchange at Carthage and the construction of a limited-access highway on the west side of Joplin and Carl Junction are among the top highway projects to be identified by the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization.
     

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • TIF proposal filed for development of area at 44th Street and Range Line

    Joplin’s Tax Increment Financing Commission will hold an informational meeting today on a proposal to establish a TIF district to pay for a wetlands project on property in the area of 44th Street and Range Line, where a developer wants to build a retail, office and hospitality district.

    April 16, 2014

  • Joplin city attorney takes job in Lee’s Summit

    City Attorney Brian Head will leave his Joplin post next month for a job in Lee’s Summit in suburban Kansas City. Head submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday morning to Mayor Mike Seibert and the City Council. The council is his employer.

    April 16, 2014

  • More volunteers, donations sought for ‘Victory 4 Haiti’

    The second meals-for-Haiti project, scheduled for April 26, is in need of donations and volunteers, organizers say. “Victory 4 Haiti,” a food-packaging event that will provide meals to the Haitian Christian Mission in the village of Fond-Parisien and elsewhere in Haiti, needs $60,000 to pay for about 280,000 meals.

    April 16, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 16, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink.jpg 283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City attorney’s last day May 16

    Joplin’s city attorney, Brian Head, in a letter this morning to the mayor and City Council, gave 30 days notice of his resignation to take a job as city attorney at Lee’s Summit.

    April 16, 2014

  • r091813cityhall.jpg PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.

    The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.

    April 16, 2014

  • PART THREE: Joplin City Council investigation documents

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.

    The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.

    April 16, 2014