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BLM rally gathers on courthouse lawn

WARRENSBURG — Community members gathered for a Black Lives Matter rally Sunday, June 28, in the shade of the trees on the Johnson County courthouse front lawn.

Alli Rhone and Jay Todd both spoke on their experiences as people of color in Warrensburg.

“There is something in the air. ... When 75 percent of the public in this country support protests about racial injustice, you know change is happening,” Johnson Countians for Justice member Steve Ciafullo, also known as Dr. Love, said in his address to the crowd. “And a change is gonna come. It’s going to come slowly, it’s going to come surely, but it’s gonna come.”

Johnson Countians for Justice organized the rally.

For more information, visit the Johnson Countians for Justice Facebook page.

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Two bricks to be added to WHS Memorial Walkway

WARRENSBURG — The Warrensburg School Board of Education voted to approve two bricks to be added to the Memorial Walkway at the Tuesday, June 16, meeting.

The bricks will be placed in memory of the late Morris Collins and Damien Hart.

Warrensburg Schools Foundation information states the foundation purchases memorial bricks for any staff or student who were employed or attending a school in the district at the time of their death.

Collins had been reelected to his sixth term on the board in April 2019 and was still serving on the board when he died in November of 2019.

The foundation purchased Collins’ brick.

Hart was a 2019 graduate of Warrensburg High School.

Teachers in the district purchased Hart’s brick.

The Memorial Walkway is located at the southwest entrance to WHS.

For more information about the walkway, contact Judy Long at

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Fireworks, face masks: WFD reminds residents of fire safety while celebrating Fourth of July

WARRENSBURG — With the ongoing pandemic and two local fireworks displays not taking place this year, many families will celebrate Independence Day this July 4 at home.

While it may seem like the best time to avoid the crowds and set up a fireworks display in the back yard, the Warrensburg Fire Department reminds residents of the dangers of fireworks.

“As part of the fire prevention code that is adopted by City Council, the use, possession, et cetera, of fireworks within the city limits is prohibited with the exception of having a special operational permit for a display,” Fire Prevention Officer Jeremy VanWey said.

A special operational permit is issued for large displays, such as the annual celebration at Grover Park Baptist Church, but, due to the ongoing pandemic, the church has stated it will not host a celebration this year.

The Boom and Blooms event at Powell Gardens has also been canceled.

“For the general public, (fireworks) are unlawful to have and use within the city limits,” VanWey said. “This year is going to be a bit different because we usually encourage people to go to a public display, leave it to the professionals. … And that is going to be a little more difficult this year because a lot of the local shows or fireworks displays are cancelled, postponed.”

The National Fire Protection Association has a list of activities people can use to celebrate Independence Day without the use of fireworks, including:

Using glow sticks, noise makers and silly string instead of sparklers and fireworks.

Hosting an outdoor movie night.

Having cake for America’s birthday.

In the United States, thousands of people sustain fireworks-related injuries every year.

In 2018, an estimated 9,100 people sought emergency care for fireworks-related injuries, according to the NFPA.

“Burns account for 44% of the fireworks injuries seen in the month around July 4,” NFPA information states.

Injuries to the hand or finger make up 28% of injuries from fireworks. Other injuries include legs at 24%; eye at 19%; head, face or ear at 15%; trunk at 10%; and arm at 4%.

Of those injured, more than a third were under the age of 15.

Annually, fireworks are also the determined cause for an estimated 19,500 reported fires in the United States.

“That is one of the big things we look at especially in a city like Warrensburg,” VanWey said. “Houses and buildings and apartments are fairly close. We have, just in my time with the Warrensburg Fire Department, we’ve had several fires that were started from the use of fireworks and the improper use of fireworks. We also see a lot of injuries every year and especially with kids.”

A sparkler, handheld firework often used by children, can burn up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, the NFPA states.

“The number one firework that causes injuries each year is actually sparklers,” VanWey said. “They account for about 25% of the emergency room injuries.”

VanWey said that if a consumer does decide to go ahead and use fireworks, it is for their safety that they:

Follow all instructions so fireworks are used properly.

Do not make improvised devices or homemade fireworks.

Do not try to relight a firework and soak any fireworks that do not go off.

Make sure children and teenagers are supervised at all times.

Do not handle fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Make sure they are in a safe area.

Are aware of surroundings and are paying attention.

VanWey said, with the ongoing pandemic, consumers should be aware face masks are often constructed with flammable material and can ignite easily.

To learn more about fireworks safety, visit

To learn more about fire safety education, visit

With the ongoing pandemic and two local fireworks displays not taking place this year, many families will celebrate Independence Day this July 4 at home.

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JCCHS implements face covering mandate beginning July 6

WARRENSBURG — Johnson County Community Health Services states Johnson County has had a recent surge in confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, prompting JCCHS to implement a face covering mandate.

This order goes into effect beginning at midnight on Monday, July 6.

The order requires individuals to wear a face covering in any indoor public location including but not limited to retail stores, grocery stores, offices, places of worship and restaurants/bars.

Businesses can supply face coverings if they have the ability to provide them, but can require individuals to bring their own.

In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public gathering places when social distancing is not an option.

The countywide order will continue for 21 days, expiring midnight on July 28.

JCCHS states this timeline can be rescinded or extended as necessary.

As of June 30, 2020, Johnson County experienced a 32.8 percent increase of confirmed cases over a 10 day period.

“The health, safety and wellness for our communities are our biggest priorities. The recent spike in numbers has caused us to implement additional safety precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Mary Thaut, JCCHS administrator, said. “We understand that wearing a face covering is not the most comfortable, but this is a necessary step to help keep our communities safe. We also understand the importance to our economy by keeping local businesses open. We want our community members to continue staying active. Requiring face coverings temporarily is an additional tool that each person can use to help protect each other. However, this should not replace other precautions such as social distancing.”

JCCHS states the need for face coverings is based on the percentage of those who are unaware they have COVID-19.

Research shows that 25 to 80 percent of individuals are asymptomatic and do not know they are carrying the active virus.

This allows the coronavirus to spread more rapidly, making it more important to wear a face covering to protect those around them.

Exceptions to wearing face covering include:

Those who are deaf or hard of hearing;

Children younger than five years old and;

Children who are younger than two years old should never wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.

Children who are two, three and four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear a face covering at all times in settings where it is likely that a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from non-household members and where the vulnerable population may be present.

Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to persons with a medical condition in which wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.

Individuals seating in a restaurant or bar actively engaged in consuming food or drink, but only when adequately distanced from others.

How to properly wear a face covering:

Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.

Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.

Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.

Make sure you can breathe easily.

When removing, untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.

Handle only by the ear loops or ties.

Fold outside corners together.

Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings).

Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.