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Female entrepreneurs empowering community in careers

October is acknowledged as women’s small business month to recognize the achievements of female entrepreneurs in the community.

Profile by Sanford and Schocking Images are two businesses that work to empower and give individuals confidence.

Jessi Brown, owner of Profile by Sanford St. Joseph, offers nutrition, activity and lifestyle coaching to all genders, but she mainly works with female clients.

“We offer anything from weight loss, trying to eat healthy, help in maybe running a 5K or marathon, along with helping with women trying to get pregnant or are pregnant or nursing,” Brown said.

The business originated in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Brown opened the St. Joseph location almost two years ago. She said she’s enjoyed being a leader in a new community.

“For me it’s actually really helped me grow spiritually and just pursue growth in general,” Brown said. “That way I can help people who come to me for weight loss or that are trying to be healthy in general.”

As a business owner, Brown said she has loved being able to inspire individuals on her staff and help them grow into leaders too.

Damara Schock, owner of Schocking Images, has operated her own photography business since 2017. She used to focus primarily on weddings, couples and senior pictures, but within the last year she started doing more boudoir photography.

“It’s like a body empowerment photoshoot for everyday women,” Schock said. “Most women believe that they have to have a gorgeous model like body to do something like that.”

Schock said she treats her clients like queens when they come in by having their hair and makeup done, and she aims to make them feel more confident by the time they’re done.

“Every girl that gets their images always says ‘Wow you Photoshopped me so great,’” Schock said. “Little do they know that I don’t Photoshop images, that’s just how they look.”

Schock said she strives every day to help women find beauty in their own bodies and she never knew it would become so popular, but right now she’s booked out through February.

“It really took off in July when I put out images for my Halloween event and my private group went from 300 members to 5,500 and my public page is at 11,000,” Schock said.

Schock said not only does she get to do what she loves every day, but being her own boss also allows her to spend more time with her family.

Brown said she would like to expand with more stores in the area in the future and encourages other female entrepreneurs not to hesitate when thinking about opening a business.

“At the end of the day if you have this gut feeling like you have to do it then just go for it and take a leap of faith,” Brown said.

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Early end to census count should be OK locally

The 2020 census count deadline has been moved up, but there should not be a big impact locally, St. Joseph officials said.

“From what I understand, St. Joseph falls in the Kansas City-area census office, so we’re categorized in with that grouping for the boots on the ground, folks in enumeration,” said Mary Robertson, the public information officer for the city of St. Joseph. “So I did look and it looked like we’re at the 99.9% completion anyway. So whatever date they have finally decided really is irrelevant to us.”

The deadline for data collection originally was Oct. 31, with the U.S. Census Bureau citing that date as necessary due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had in collecting accurate numbers.

However, the decision was made earlier this week to end the collection on Oct. 15 after the Trump Administration made that request, stating the U.S. Census Bureau otherwise would not be able to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to report the results.

“October is usually when the final counts are being put together, data is being gleaned from the counts, and then Dec. 31 is when all of the numbers are required to be presented to the president,” Robertson said. “So that following spring states can look at their numbers and look at legislation and demographic lines, (get) districts redrawn, so ... you’re looking at a full year from start to finish for a decennial census to take place.”

An accurate census count can have a big impact on everything from local infrastructure to federal funding.

“When people don’t get counted, that does affect our numbers,” Robertson said. “It affects our congressional seat, it affects the federal funding that we get, but it also affects our perception of whether or not we’re growing as a community.”

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Multiple Northwest Missouri counties in COVID-19 red zone

Buchanan County is classified by the Harvard Global Health Institute as being in the red zone. This means the county averages over 26 COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people.

Other Northwest Missouri counties such as Clinton, Holt, Andrew, Nodaway, Dekalb and Daviess counties are all in the red zone as well.

Missouri is the 17th highest state in regard to daily cases per 100,000 with 22.9 according to the Global Health Institute, which would put the state in the orange zone. The institute lists four different stages of severity, which are colored green, yellow, orange and red.

Dr. Gary Clapp, a chemistry professor at Missouri Western State University, who has been looking at the rolling averages and giving information to the St. Joseph City Council, said the numbers are always changing and there are multiple conclusions that can be drawn.

“The numbers get difficult to analyze as too many factors are playing into it, it would be nice if this was a simple linear forecast, but it’s not,” Clapp said.

The seven-day and 10-day rolling averages have shown a decrease, which showcases a positive trend since the mask mandate was put in place. Clapp said one of the many factors in Buchanan County staying in the red zone is an increase in testing.

“Buchanan County basically has doubled in the last three weeks with the numbers of test we’re doing,” Clapp said. “If you’re at the same percent rate and you double your number of tests you’re going to double your hits.”

The Global Health Institute would suggest those in the red zone should go into a shutdown to control the amount of cases. Clapp said that he does not want another shutdown and it would have a big economic impact.

Clapp said another positive since the mask mandate is a significant decrease in the positivity rate of those tested.

“Your percent positives were approaching around 20% at the time the mayor issued the order, and almost immediately or a week or so later, the positive rates started coming down,” Clapp said.

The red zones in the state of Missouri tend to go together in groups, such as the one in Northwest Missouri. Clapp said he believes that has to do with the population make-up of an area and the places having higher population density also having higher cases per day.

Mosaic Life Care currently have 66 COVID-19 hospitalizations with 64 in St. Joseph and 2 in Maryville.