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Saluting hospital staff with flyover

A salute was given to area hospital staff, first responders and other essential employees fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by the 139th Airlift Wing.

The tribute, which happened on National Nurses Day, came in a flyover from three C-130 Hercules aircraft that took off Wednesday morning from the 139th Airlift Wing stationed at Rosecrans Memorial Airport.

The flight path included Atchison Hospital, Saint Luke’s, North Kansas City Hospital, Liberty Hospital, Cameron Regional Hospital and finally Mosaic Life Care.

Mosaic’s Dominique Bigelow directs the emergency department and was among her staff to watch the spectacle.

“For me, this flyover is amazing and it’s an excellent demonstration of what it means to collectively come together as a whole,” Bigelow said. “It’s not one entity that can fight COVID-19, it takes a partnership between your community, your organization here at Mosaic, you know, the people in the community, and of course, military as well.”

Bigelow said the pandemic is new for everyone, as the community at large has never been through something like this before, and it has added stress on the medical community.

“Our work hours, they’re tough,” Bigelow said. “We’re doing everything we can to prevent that stress for (our staff) and still be able to give them time at home with their families.”

Community support for the hospital has included food from various organizations and businesses, as well as letters sent to the hospital to thank them for their service during the pandemic.

“Currently Price Chopper is bringing in sub sandwiches for all of our ER staff today,” Bigelow said. “If you want to talk about stress relief, definitely always bringing in food, that definitely helps.”

The C-130 was originally designed and built by Lockheed in 1956. It’s been used for troop transport, aerial refueling and also as a gunship. It has the potential to carry 64 paratroopers into combat.

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State seeking death penalty in case of Diemel brothers

The state of Missouri is seeking the death penalty for accused killer Garland Joseph Nelson, defense attorney Patrick Berrigan confirmed.

Nelson is accused of killing two Wisconsin brothers, Nicholas and Justin Diemel.

Nelson has a new judge and new attorneys, including Berrigan, Missouri CaseNet records show.

A search of CaseNet records indicates Judge Kevin Walden has been assigned to handle Nelson’s case. The previous judge in the case, Brent Elliot, ordered the change of judge.

Walden handles cases in the 8th Circuit, Carroll and Ray counties, according court records. He was appointed to the circuit court in 2017 by then-Gov. Eric Greitens, according to a news release.

Devon Pasley and Thomas Jacquinot are joining Berrigan to complete Nelson’s new defense counsel.

According to the Missouri State Public Defender’s website, Berrigan handles cases “almost exclusively devoted to the defense of indigent persons charged with capital murder.”

One of Nelson’s previous public defenders, who is still listed as a member of his defense team, had filed a motion to change the venue of Nelson’s proceedings.

It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday if that request had been granted.

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Salons open with new safety guidelines

The sound of happy chatter and scissors cutting off hair can be heard across St. Joseph salons after many reopened this week.

The industry was struggling to get by when doors were closed because stylists couldn’t perform normal tasks and operations. However, in order for the salons to stay open they have to follow strict guidelines to keep customers safe.

Bobbi Jo Hausman, owner of Bliss Salon, said clients and stylists must wear masks at all times and they provide masks to anyone who doesn’t have one.

“They have to wear them their whole duration here, and for men’s haircuts we’ll have them hold it so we can get their sides and clean them up and then they put it back on,” Hausman said.

The flow of customers isn’t at the same rate as it used to be because each stylist needs to have enough time to sanitize the station before the next appointment.

“We don’t have anyone sitting and waiting, our clients are texting us when they get here and zero walk-ins are welcome at this point,” Hausman said.

Jacinda Wampler, owner of Salon 1027, is in the same position and said it’s been a rush opening back up again but there are also a lot of nerves.

“After coming in with a tape measurer and measuring the distance between our styling stations, we had to space them out a little better, but now everybody’s ready to go,” Wampler said.

Wampler said at the moment the salon is working on all of its previously canceled appointments and is booked through next week.

Adam Meisinger, owner of Unique Creations Salon, is seeing appointments pile up for people who haven’t been able to get any services done during the shutdown.

“Our stylists are very excited about the tips again and being able to see everybody and back to having fun,” Meisinger said.

While Meisinger and the employees have been busy getting the salon ready and sanitized for business, they also wanted to give back to workers on the front line.

“It’s nurse appreciation week and we figured that it would be best to help out health-care providers by purchasing some hotel rooms for a week at a time, that way health-care providers don’t risk taking the disease home with them,” Meisinger said.

Unique Creations partnered with McVey Trucking in Wathena, Kansas, to provide the hotel rooms at the Drury Inn.

The salons agree that they’ll do anything they need to to keep staff and clients safe and to stay open.

“We have a thermometer on hand and stylists are getting checked every day and making sure there’s no fevers,” Housman said.

The excitement is felt from both the stylists and clients, but the salons are already looking forward to the next phase for businesses because it’s hard to limit the amount of clients being seen.

“They’re not just clients, they’re friends and family and we want to see everyone and catch up because every one of us that do this for a living, it’s not to make the pretty prettier, it’s to make people feel good,” Housman said.

The salons and stylists ask for patience from clients as they learn to adapt to new changes and work through scheduling the abundance of appointments.