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Wilson officially installed as MWSU's new president

Educators, students and community members gathered at Missouri Western State University’s Looney Complex to celebrate the official installation of Matthew J. Wilson as the university’s new president.

The event, which featured the university’s band, cheerleaders, choir and other performing groups, was kicked off by Dr. Elise Hepworth, director of choral activities and vocal music education at Missouri Western, who introduced Wilson in rather heroic fashion:

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … President Matthew J. Wilson!” she announced.

Wilson then walked to the stage with his wife, Noriko, to a variation of John Williams’ “Superman March.”

“When we were planning for this event, President Wilson made it very clear that he wanted the ceremony to focus on Missouri Western State University students,” Hepworth said. “You are the reason we do what we do. And to those students in attendance today, we hope you realize how important you are to all of us who work at Missouri Western State University.”

Prior to the new president approaching the podium, three students emphasized the importance of Missouri Western in their lives. Engoma Fataki had originally grown up in a refugee camp before making his way to America to pursue his education. Beth McLenaghan, a nontraditional student, had faced multiple medical conditions that initially hampered her efforts to graduate before Missouri Western gave her a second chance. And finally, Mazzie Boyd related her experience growing up in a household where both of her parents were unable to pursue college degrees. However, through Missouri Western, she was able work in Washington, D.C., and pursue career opportunities in her field.

Wilson was then awarded the university’s presidential medallion before making his speech to those in attendance.

“I’ve never really had ‘bling’ before,” he said, holding the medallion in his hand.

He then proceeded to discuss aspects of his life and the difficulties he had faced along the way. Yet through every failure, Wilson said, he kept on pushing.

He went on to say that grit and determination can open many doors for students attending the university.

“The value of a college degree — If you think about what we’re doing here at Missouri Western, we’re empowering students and elevating society as a whole,” Wilson said. “College is something that’s not easy. It’s something that’s difficult, but as I told in my stories today, my life has been about so many failures. But it’s all about getting up, knocking that dust off, and having that grit to go forward.”

He went on to say how inspired he was regarding the speeches given by each of the student speakers at the event, as they embody the determination he hopes others can use in their own lives to succeed.

“And it’s truly inspiring to see the turnout — the students, faculty and staff coming and celebrating Missouri Western and the things that we do,” Wilson said.


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King City nursing home to close doors

KING CITY, Mo. — The nursing home King City Manor will officially close its doors on

Nov. 1.

Most of the 32 residents on the Manor’s skilled nursing side and 15 on the assisted-living side already have found new homes after the closure was announced in August. The last resident is leaving the facility on Oct. 1.

“For those ones that knew that this is where they wanted to spend their last days, months, years of their lives, and then they had to pack up and move again, is just just absolutely heartbreaking,” King City Manor’s administrator Karen Clibon said.

Clibon has been with the nursing home for 32 years in various capacities, starting as a volunteer when she was 11 years old. For most of those years, the manor was the heart of King City’s 1,000-resident community.

“It’s our home and our family here, we’ve been part of these people’s lives for so long,” Clibon said. “When I was talking to new hires, the main thing I want them to do is treat our residents like their grandma and grandpa.”

Things changed when King City Manor came under new ownership in 2016, according to Clibon. MGM Healthcare is the current licensed operator.

“Unfortunately, there was just lots of changes going from an independent owner to a corporation,” she said. “We had a change in management companies in February of this year. And they backed out mid-August, and left us to (MGM Healthcare). And they made the decision to close the doors at that point.”

It’s not the first time King City Manor has faced closure.

King City Manor was built in 1965 by King City community members who formed the King City Manor Board. The nursing home changed hands a few time before Tiffany Care Centers bought the facility in 1976 and ran it until 2006, when the company announced plans to close it.

“It was very heartbreaking to the whole community because the community is what built this facility,” Clibon said. “The King City Manor Board didn’t own it, but they were still active. They stepped in and bought the building.”

Danny Davis, who had been an administrator in the ’80s, then managed the nursing home for six months before buying it in 2006.

“We were thriving as an individually owned facility,” Clibon said.

In 2011, Davis and then-administrator Lisa McGhee made plans to add a third wing to the facility that would serve as an assisted-living facility. The wing opened shortly after.

“It’s only been open for seven years, so it’s very new,” Clibon said. “To see it empty now is unbelievable, because it really should have been what kept the other side open. It’s just unreal.”

Unlike 13 years ago, Clibon said there is no hope the board will be able to step in again, although not for a lack of trying.

“They worked tireless hours trying to figure out what they could do. There were just so many obstacles, because of how things had been let go as far as the building itself, and that created more issues. It was kind of a snowball effect to the point where nobody could step in this time.”

“For them to be able to step in and do that once and then have the hopes of being able to do that again, was really hard,” she said.

In addition to the manor’s residents, more than 60 employees were left looking for a new job. Along with the local school, King City Manor was the city’s largest employer.

“It’s going to be felt in the whole community,” Clibon said. “Most of them, thank goodness, have already found new jobs. There are still a few that are looking.”

Clibon herself will take some time to herself once the last resident has left and all paperwork is finished.

“This has been a very stressful ordeal for me, being here so long,” she said. “I’m going to take a little time off and recuperate myself. Then I’ll figure out what the next step is going to be.”

MGM Healthcare could not be reached for comment.


Missouri
Missouri man, widow to receive Highway Patrol honor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri woman and her late husband, who was killed by the suspect in four Kansas murders , will be honored by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which said their actions during a confrontation with the suspect protected the public safety and helped authorities capture the man.

Julie Nordman, of New Florence, and her late husband, Randy Nordman, will receive the patrol’s highest nonemployee honor, the Honorary Trooper Certificate, during a ceremony Oct. 11, the patrol announced Friday.

Randy Nordman, 49, was fatally shot on March 8, 2016, when he fought with Pablo-Serrano-Vitorino, who was fleeing from authorities after four men were killed in Kansas City, Kansas, the previous night.

The patrol said Serrano-Vitorino’s vehicle broke down in Montgomery County, Missouri, and he walked to the Nordmans’ nearby home, armed with the rifle authorities believe he used in the Kansas killings. Randy Nordman tried to wrestle the gun away, which caused Serrano-Vitorino to lose his rifle’s magazine, leaving him with only one round, which he used to kill Nordman, the patrol said.

At the same time, Julie Nordman alerted authorities and watched Serrano-Vitorino run away. She provided information that helped law enforcement establish a perimeter in the area. Serrano-Vitorino was captured the next day hiding face-down in a ditch a few miles from the Nordmans’ home.

“Julie and Randy Nordman were thrust into this horrendous moment, not by career choice, training, nor desire; yet their response was heroic, in keeping with the highest of standards of law enforcement across the United States, particularly, the Missouri State Highway Patrol,” Capt. Corey Schoeneberg, commanding officer of the patrol’s troop in Jefferson City, said in a news release. “On that day, evidence laid bare the character of Randy and Julie Nordman. Through their actions, including Randy’s heroic confrontation and battle with a murderer, there is little doubt more violent confrontations were averted and lives were saved.”

Serrano-Vitorino, 43, a Mexican national who was in the U.S. illegally, was charged with first-degree murder in all five deaths. He was found dead in his St. Louis jail cell on April 9. Authorities said he hanged himself.

Authorities said his crimes began when Serrano-Vitorino gunned down his Kansas City, Kansas, neighbor, 41-year-old Michael Capps, and three other men at Capps’ home — brothers Austin Harter, 29, and Clint Harter, 27, and 36-year-old Jeremy Waters.

Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive.


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❯ NEWS-PRESS NOW GAME OF THE WEEK

Fighting Irish host Savages

during Week 4 of prep football, plus more area results.


Local_news
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Instant impact: 9-year-old with diabetes inspires Griffon Soccer

Missouri Western really rolled out the red carpet for its newest soccer star, 9-year-old Savannah Fisher.

As part of a program that links kids with chronic illness and local colleges, Fisher signed an official letter of intent to play with the Griffons. Fisher is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

The signing day featured a press conference, an appearance by current and former players and an official jersey presentation by head coach Chad Edwards.

“They’ve been telling me that they’re really happy for me to be here,” Fisher said following the festivities. “And that they like having me.”

It was only a few weeks ago that Savannah’s parents, Tommy and Dana Fisher, submitted an application for Savannah to be part of the “Team Impact” program.

“I was on social media looking through a ‘Type 1 diabetes’ group and I saw that she (a friend) posted a video and I watched it,” Dana Fisher said. “I went to Team Impact’s website and I just decided, ‘Why not?’”

As part of the team, Savannah took the field as a starter for the Griffon’s game against Missouri Southern State University. She’s rooting for a win, which triggers a pretty cool afterparty.

“I hope they win because they said if they win, they get to ring this big bell,” Savannah said.

And win they did, knocking off Missouri Southern 1-0.

Edwards told assembled media and players that the Griffons look for specific things on the recruiting trail, and that Savannah checks all the boxes.

“We look for awesome people, obviously great soccer players and people that have a passion for being successful,” he said. “We’re looking for Savannah to have an immediate impact.”

“In your short life you’ve battled through a lot, and you’re going to teach us how to battle through adversity,” Edwards added.

More information about Team Impact can be found on its website, www.goteamimpact.org.


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U.S. troops deployed

U.S. troops deployed

Pentagon announces it will send military and missile defense equipment.

Details on Page A2