The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

August 12, 2012

Crawford County official lists sidewalks as top priority for improving health

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Crawford County has something in common with neighboring Vernon County, Mo. Both rank poor in health, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Both counties, in fact, rank 88th in their respective states.

Like Vernon County, Crawford County has numerous poor individual health indexes. Adult smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, teen births and preventable hospital stays far exceed the state and national averages.

Like Vernon County, Crawford County ranks near the bottom in many socioeconomic indicators. In Crawford County school districts, between 57 and 65 percent of the families with children in public schools are economically disadvantaged, and unemployment hovers around 7.5 to 8.2 percent.

Crawford County Health Director Janice Godeke said the biggest issue, though, may be the “car mentality” of residents. People just don’t walk as much as they should, opting to use cars even for quick trips to a nearby grocery store or for delivering children to a school that is a few blocks from home.

Godeke has listed sidewalks as the top priority for improving health, and she said it would transcend all socioeconomic barriers.

“If we had better access to biking and walking routes, that’s a very, very cheap solution to what’s become an epidemic, and everyone can use them regardless of income,” she said.

At the health department, Godeke is walking the talk: “We’re working on measuring out an inside path for employees so they know how many laps equals a mile. Employers need to take care of their employees. Our county’s health starts with baby steps, and it will take everyone.”

She praised a local company, Pitsco, which for several years has paid for memberships to the Pittsburg Family YMCA for its employees.

She said it would take a “community effort to correct the problem,” and that employers need to support wellness programs.

Live Well Crawford County also is trying to help, according to its director, Joanna Rhodes.

In the past year, Live Well Crawford County has given thousands of dollars in grants for farmers markets, walking and biking trails, and healthy concessions. This year, it began regularly presenting Apple Awards to businesses and individuals who help the community lead healthy lives.

Among the first recipients was Roger Lomshek, owner of Tailwind Cyclists, who has advocated for improved recreational opportunities in Pittsburg and was a driving force behind the creation of the 23rd Street Bike Park. Also honored was the Southeast School District Health Council, which has purchased pedometers for staff members, organized free health screenings and family fun nights, and provided teachers with a GeoFitness system to combine fitness with music and math.

Community discussion

Live Well Crawford County will conduct a Healthy Communities Initiatives meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Director Joanna Rhodes said the committee also plans to have community conversations throughout September to get input from county residents. More details will be announced in coming weeks.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 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

  • Britain Easter Pilgri_Cast.jpg SLIDESHOW: Good Friday observances around the world Around the world, Christians are coming together in observance of Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified. Here are some photos from Good Friday commemorations around the world.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missouri House votes to expand sales tax exemptions

    Pizza parlors, doughnut shops and even convenience stores all could be in line for a tax break on the food that they make and sell as a result of a measure moving through the Missouri Legislature.

    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