Focus On The 4-States – Joplin City Council General Seat Candidate Joshua Shackles

It’s Morning Edition on KRPS. We are less than two weeks away from municipal elections taking place across Missouri. Locally, Joplin’s city council election was scheduled to take place on April 7th but because of the pandemic the election was shifted to June 2nd. This morning we hear from Joshua Shackles who is one of four candidates running to fill one of two general two-year seats on the Joplin City Council. Like all candidates, I first asked Joshua to introduce himself to voters. 

That was  Joshua Shackles,  who is one of two candidates running to fill one of two general two-year seats on the Joplin City Council. To learn more about his campaign visit his Facebook page at Josh4Joplin.

Joplin city elections will be held on Tuesday June 2, 2020. This link to will take you directly to the cities election page, including voting maps and polling places.

Focus On The 4-States – Joplin City Council General Seat Candidate Anthony Monteleone

We are less than a month away from municipal elections taking place across Missouri. Locally, Joplin’s city council election were supposed to take place on April 7th but because of the pandemic they were shifted to June 2nd. This morning we hear from Anthony Monteleone who is running for one of the general seats and for his first full two-year term as a council member after being selected to the council after Josh Bard stepped just days after being elected in 2018. Like all candidates, I first asked Anthony to introduce himself to voters.

On the topic of changing the way city government operates in Joplin, Anthony says that he would work to streamline the process of starting a new business. He says there needs to be a small business hub so that possible business owners aren’t running all over city hall trying to get things figured out.

Anthony Monteleone is one of two candidates running for one of the general two-year seats on the Joplin City Council. You can find out more information about his campaign at his Facebook page at Anthony For Joplin.

Joplin city elections will be held on Tuesday June 2, 2020. This link to will take you directly to the cities election page, including voting maps and polling places.

Connect2Culture Making Plans For The Future

The arts and culture scene in SW Missouri has shifted online because of the pandemic

Life for everybody has changed over the course of the past two months because of the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world. For many of us, we’ve moved from meeting in-person to digital platforms such as Zoom, Facetime, and Google Hangouts. Under normal times many of us throughout the Four States would be enjoying the beautiful Spring weather that we’ve waited to arrive, attending events like Third Thursday in Joplin and our favorite art events. Although, Director Connect2Culture Emily Frankoski says that there are still many cultural, art-related events and projects that you can do at home.

Need something creative to do? Arts organizations have moved their meet-ups online

If you’re a fan of Connect2Culture’s ‘Curtains Up Series’ then you’ll be happy to know that regardless of the coronavirus the non-profit is working hard to bring performances to southwest Missouri later this year. While Emily didn’t reveal any of the possible performances or groups that could be apart of this year’s series she did say there are weekly meetings taking place about which individual and groups could available and traveling in the fall. She admits that there is a lot to figure out and whether people will want to attend performances post coronavirus.

C2C’s Curtains Up will return later this year

The Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Complex is still on track to break ground later this year in downtown Joplin. According to Emily, C2C is full speed ahead in the planning phase of the Cornell Complex and doesn’t expect it to be delayed because of the pandemic. The 46,000 square foot structure that will seat 450 indoors and another 1,500 at its Festival Plaza and Amphitheater is still expected to be completed in 2022.

Not even a pandemic is slowing constriction of the Cornell Complex

Mayor Gary Shaw On Joplin’s Stay At Home Order

Extended interview with Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw
Edited interview that aired on Friday April 10 2020 on KRPS

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life around the world. Here in the US, states and cities have imposed varying levels of restrictions on daily life. That includes national retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes limiting the number of customers that can enter their stores at any one time and restricting their hours of operation. On Friday, April 3 Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw signed a Stay At Home order for the cities 50,000+ residents. Initially, Joplin’s Stay At Home order was to remain in effect until April 24 but was extended to coincide with Missouri statewide Stay at Home Order which will remain in effect until Sunday May 3, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

Earlier this month KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Mayor of Joplin Gary Shaw who says that he received as many Joplin residents who wanted a Stay At Home put into effect as those who opposed the measure.

Gary Shaw speaking about Joplin’s Stay at Home order

According to Shaw, city officials in Joplin decided to go ahead on Friday April, 3 and implement a Stay At Home order the following Monday, which was the same day Missouri Governor Mike Parson would put into effect a statewide Stay At Home order. Shaw indicates that while most of Joplin’s residents were abiding by the CDC’s social distancing guidelines it wasn’t enough to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Was implementing a Stay At Home Order the right thing to do in Joplin? Mayor Shaw believes so

As the state of Missouri and Joplin enter its third week of a Stay At Home order Shaw encourages residents to get out and enjoy the nice weather. But when you go out to the store or a location that could be crowded to maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask if you have one. He believes that if people follow the guidelines that are provided by the CDC and the State of Missouri that it lessens the impact on the region’s economy and minimize the likelihood that the stay at home order will have to be extended past Sunday May 3, 2020.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Andrej Kurti performs at Pittsburg State

Radio edited interview of Raul Munguia speaking with Andrej Kurti

It’s likely that when Andrej Kurti was growing up in Belgrade, Serbia he had no idea that he would move to the Southern part of the United States and become a violin professor in Central Louisiana. Prior to becoming a professor of violin at Northwestern State University of Louisiana he earned both his graduate degrees and  doctorate in violin performance from the University of Georgia. According to Kurti he had one job interview, at Northwestern State University who hired him and he hasn’t looked back since.

This Saturday night, March 14 Kurti will be performing for the third time at the Sharon K. Deane retical hall on the campus of Pittsburg State. The concert begins at 7:30 pm and is open to the public. He has traveled and performed around the world, including in Serbia, Montenegro, Italy, Greece, Russia and Colombia. He also appeared as a chamber performer in Spain, France, Latvia, Canada, Colombia and South Korea. Director of Orchestras at Pittsburg State Raul Munguia recently spoke with Andrej Kurti via Skype from his home in Louisiana. Raul first asked Kurti to introduce himself to listeners who may have only heard him for the first time on KRPS.

Andrej Kurti musical roots run deep and far from his home in Central Louisiana
Dr. Raul Munguia is Director of Orchestras and the violin/viola professor at Pittsburg State University

Kurti’s performance which is open to the public will feature what he describes as the “Mount Everest’s” of violin music” the 24 Caprices for Solo Violin written by Niccolò Paganini between 1802 and 1817. This is also a sneak peak of a new studio album that Kurti will release later this year of Paganini’s 24 Caprices. He revealed during the interview that grew up hoping that one day he would be able to perform just one of the Caprices but to complete all 24 could be the apex of his career accomplishments.

Witness 15 years worth of music in one night with violist Andrej Kurti and the 24 Caprices for Solo Violin

As a fellow violist himself PSU’s Raul Munguia knows the level of difficultly and commitment that is required to learn not just one of the Caprices but all 24 of them. During his long career as a professional musician Munguia says that he has only seen Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin in its entity only once before and he describes it as a “wild ride”.

It’s worth noting that Kurti will perform Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, solo without even a piano as backup

The performance on Saturday March 14 at Sharon K. Deane recital hall starts at 7:30 pm and is open to the public. This is a direct link to some of Kurti’s earlier performances.

Black History Month Celebration At Joplin Public Library

Nanda Nunnelly speaks about the life of Ona Judge and learning to portray her

The month of February in the US is well known for being Black History Month, but did you know that the month long remembrance that reflect s back on the important people and events of the African diaspora has roots that date back to 1926? The week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.

Locally, the Joplin Public Library will be holding a Black History Celebration on Saturday February 22 from 1030 am until noon. At the event, Nanda Nunnelly will portray Ona Judge, who was an enslaved woman who escaped from and was relentlessly pursued by our first president, George Washington. Recently KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Nanda Nunnelly will portray Judge and JPL’s Black History Month Celebration.

Nunnelly tells listeners who Ona Judge was and why she should be remembered

Researchers believe that Judge was born in 1773 and lived until the age of 75 when she passed away on February 25, 1848. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s when African-American and US Historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar, now a professor of at Rutgers University was researching archives on free blacks in Philadelphia in the late 1800’s. In 2017 Dunbar published “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit Of Their Runaway Slave, One Judge” which chronicles the escape of the 22-year old Judge and Martha and George’s relentless pursuit to locate what they believed was their property.

Professor Erica Armstrong Dunbar only discovered Judge and her story in the late 1990’s

Nunnelly started portraying Judge a couple of years ago after she read Dunbar’s book, Never Caught and was inspired to informs others about her story and life. Nunnelly, who has a background in the performing arts has experience working with the Stone’s Throw Dinner Theater and The Joplin Little Theater. That’s in addition to working in the McDonald County School District and at The Minnie Hackney Community Center in Joplin Nunnelly would be asked to presentations during Black History Month. She combined her great interest in Judge’s life and background in theater so that more people would be informed about Ona Judge and her life spent on the run from our countries first President, George Washington.

Nunnelly combines her lifelong love of theater and the story of Judge in her portrayal

The Horszowski Trio performs in Joplin

Jesse Mills Radio Edited Interview with The Horszowski Trio

Making their second appearance in the past five years in Joplin the Horszowski Trio will be performing on Thursday February 22, 2020 at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School. The concert, which is being hosted by ProMusica Joplin starts at 7:00 pm is open to the public although donations will be accepted.

The Horszowski Trio

Since the group formed nearly ten years ago the Horszowski Trio have performed coast to coast here in the US, in addition to touring in Japan and India. After their debut performance at Rockfeller University in late 2011 the group booked and performed their first 200 shows. Recently KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with the Trio’s two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills who started playing at the age of 3. Jesse reveals that two-thirds of the group was formed even before he turned 13 years old.

The Horszowski Trio knows each other closely. So well, Jesse and pianist Rieko Aizawa are married.

The group has been hailed by numerous publications such as the New York Times who called the Horszowski Trio“impressive, lithe, persuasive.” That’s in addition to BBC Radio saying, they play with “great care and affection” and, The Strad, a UK-based monthly classical music magazine about string instruments proclaiming the Horszowski Trio “fresh, supple and fantastic.” Jesse believes that chamber music remains popular both in the US and abroad because of the solo voices it can provide listeners in addition to the overall playing power of groups.

Experience The Horszowski Trio up close this Thursday night at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School in Joplin

Encouraged by his Mother Jesse Mills starting playing the violin when he was a toddler. By the time he was 12-years old he was attending summer music camp and met Raman Ramakrishnan who would become the cello player for the Horszowski Trio. According to Jesse all he ever wanted to do was play in a trio and he is living out his dream.

Jesse hopes to continue to compose and perform music for the rest of his life

Imagine Pittsburg 2030

Pittsburg Community Development & Housing Director Quentin Holmes

Residents of Pittsburg will have an opportunity to have their voices heard at the next Imagine Pittsburg 2030 Community Conversation taking place on Thursday February 27 at Butler’s Quarters, at 513 North Broadway, in Pittsburg. The event starts at 6 pm. The steering committee for IP 2030 was established now over a decade ago to provide guidance and planning for what the city would look like in 20 years time. The committee laid out six areas of importance that would help shape and improve the lives of Pittsburg residents in 2030. They include Economic Development, Infrastructure, Public Wellness, Education, Marketing and Housing. Recently KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Community Development & Housing Director and Pittsburg State grad Quentin Holmes about the need for housing in the city and the broader goals of IP 2030.

Holmes says the broader goal of IP 2030 is moving Pittsburg ‘Foward Together’

The most recent IP 2030 community conversation was this past December and according to Holmes Pittsburg residents that are curious about the future of the city are encouraged to attend on Feb. 27th. The meetings are a way for residents to speak up and tell the IP 2030 committee members what’s important to them so that they can bring the needs of the city more into focus. Prior to attending the IP 2030 meeting on Thursday February 27 you’re also encouraged to RSVP so that there is enough room for everybody.

Pittsburg residents who want their voices heard and to shape the future of the city are encourage to attend

With a focus on the future and newer housing in Pittsburg the city over the past five years has demolished over 200 houses to make way for the opportunity for local residents to build new houses. Another aspect of the IP 2030 plan that Holmes points to is the city of Pittsburg establishing a planned development, which he says the city hasn’t had since the 1970’s. Another option for residents of Pittsburg who are looking to build a new home is to take advantage of the Pittsburg Land Bank. The land bank, which currently has 51 pieces of property available throughout the city according to Holmes, “focuses on the conversion of vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent, or otherwise underused properties into productive use” according to the city website.

A planned development, the continued demotion of houses in poor conditions and the Pittsburg land bank are signs of progress for the cities housing market

Grammy Nominated and Dove Award Winning Singer-Songwriter Jennifer Knapp Returns to Southeast Kansas

Radio edited interview with Jennifer Knapp
Jennifer Knapp

Jennifer Knapp has lived a few lives. Today, at the age of 45, living in Nashville, Tennessee she recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a graduate degree in Theological Studies. Perhaps now is the perfect time to both look back at her start in Southeast Kansas and ahead to the next step in her career. Originally from Chanute she graduated from Chanute High School and attended Pittsburg State on a music scholarship.

The Grammy nominated signer-songwriter had humble beginnings in SE Kansas

Knapp released her first professional recording at the age of 20 while still an undergrad at Pittsburg State in 1994. She became better known for her album titled, Kansas that followed 4 years later in 1998 and the single “Undo Me”. According to Knapp she recorded her first CD in Pittsburg and remembers playing at Memorial Hall for a CD debut party. Her performance later this month will mark the first time that she’s performed in Southeast Kansas in over 20 years.

At her peak Knapp was a 2-time Dove Award winning performer before moving to Australia

Since her start in Kansas in the mid and late 1990’s Knapp has traveled and performed all over the US and internationally. You might think that performing at your alma mater (PSU) might be a piece of cake but that isn’t the case for her. Even though her first three albums sold over a million copies she reveals that she’s got butterflies for the performance at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Saturday February 22nd. She still visits Southeast Kansas on occasion so that she can see family some of whom will be in the audience for her concert.

Want to learn about the life of a professional music artist? Knapp will host a public masters class at PSU ahead of her performance

Since Knapp came on to the Christian music scene two decades ago a lot has changed both in the music business and society. At the peak of her popularity after being nominated for Grammy’s in 2000 for Lay It Down and in 2001 for The Way I Am she decided to stop writing music and performing. Her final performance before a long break and moving to Australia was in September of 2002. She’d revealed that the constant stress of touring wore on her and that she needed a break. In a 2004 interview with Relevant Magazine “she said that she was talking a break from music and leaving the future in gods hands.” Later in 2010, in interviews given to Christianity Today, Reuters and The Advocate Knapp revealed that she was gay and had been in a same sex relationship since 2002. She reflects back on her early song writing success and how the events of her life are reflected in her music.

Knapp took control of her life in the summer of 2002 and took an 8 year break from releasing music

After all of this, Christianity is still an important aspect of Knapp’s life so much so that she earned a Graduate degree in Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University. Knapp says that shes, “not just interested in writing shiny poetry but the kind of poetry that really says something truthful and that takes a lot more digging and a lot more depth.” She continues to be curious about God but today she’s just as concerned about being functional in life and how the two intersect.

To learn more about Jennifer Knapp’s performance Saturday February 22 at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts click this link.

The Neosho Arts Council to host Art Con 2020

Sarah Serio, President of the Neosho Arts Council speaks about Art Con 2020

Saturday, February 8 the Neosho Arts Council is set to host Art Con 2020 at its new location, Carver Elementary School. The one day event has grown larger each year and includes special guests such as Corin Nemec star of Stargate and Smallville and Arron Kuder creator and artist for Ghost Rider and Superman. While Art Con 2020 has grown in stature and the number of visitors it draws to SW Missouri each year one aspect that hasn’t changed is the low general admission price of $5, with both kids 5 and under and parking free.

Recently KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Sarah Serio President of the Neosho Arts Council about Art Con 2020. Serio says that while Art Con 2020 will have special guests and games for visitors to play they will also hold panel discussions. One discussion is going to be lead by JP Pool, host of Egotastic Fun Time that will focus on which digital platform is right for you. Should you develop a podcast? Or a YouTube channel?

Sarah speaks about one of the panel discussions at Art Con 2020

Art Con 2020 continues to maintain its affordable price this year of the general admission of only $5. But there are other opportunities if you want to engage in the panel discussions, receive an autograph ticket or purchase a photograph opportunity of Corin Nemec. The photograph session with Corin starts at 11 am while the panel kicks off at 1 pm.

Thinking of going to Art Con 2020? Consider the various ticking opportunities that you can purchase this year

The doors open for Art Con 2020 at 11 am until 6 pm. This link is a schedule for the entire day, including panels, game zone and autograph opportunities.