Sense of Community

KSMU/Randy Stewart

RANDY: Jo Mueller is the Executive Director of the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in downtown Joplin, the city’s principal visual-arts venue.  With its location on 3rd Street, it was well north of the devastation of the EF-5 tornado that flattened so much of Joplin on May 22, 2011.  But Jo, who is a working artist in media like clay, wire, and watercolor and ink, sustained heavy damage to her own home.  I had talked with her a few years ago, and recently she recounted for me what happened to her home—and a good portion of her artwork.

Immediately after the Joplin tornado, we asked the question:  is our severe weather warning system good enough?  Today, in this Sense of Community piece, we’re following up on that by bringing you news of some important updates in our local warning system.

Good morning, and welcome to our Sense of Community series on a three-year follow up to the largest catastrophe to hit our region in nearly a century:  the 2011 Joplin Tornado.

It's a blustery, gray Spring afternoon when I arrive at Nixa High School. Boys and girls are dispersing to their locker rooms after track practice as I find my way to Coach Lance Brumley. He was recently honored as an Everyday Hero by the American Red Cross.  Brumley coaches high school cross-country and track.  He is one of several who were honored this month, and says he's been humbled by the experience. Here's a bit of his story:

On a warm, September day, Brumley was helping out with a junior high cross-country meet when he got a phone call. 

It was supposed to be a normal day on the lake.  David Sheets, his 16-year-old son Michael, and three of his teenaged friends had planned to meet another group at Table Rock Lake, outside of Branson. With their friends running late, the group decided to take the boat out on a short drive in the Beardsley Branch area.  Within minutes, David says they saw what looked like a vacant boat, yards away from a stranded swimmer.