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story.lead_photo.caption Paula Tredway/FULTON SUN Paula Tredway/FULTON SUN Fulton Hornets are ready to lasso the Mexico Bulldogs into their pen.

Sept. 26

Fulton Rotary to observe World Polio Month

Fulton's Rotary Club will be marking historic progress toward a polio-free world while urging the community to help end the paralyzing disease in October. The observance is among thousands to be held by Rotary clubs around the world during World Polio Month.

They will kick off the month with a guest speaker, Dr. Ted Groshong, former polio chair for Rotary District 6080. The physician and professor emeritus of pediatric nephrology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine will speak during the weekly Rotary meeting at noon Oct. 6 at Ohana's.

Fulton Mayor Lowe Cannell will also be present at the meeting to make a proclamation declaring October World Polio Month in the city.

Rotary members will continue taking action throughout October to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.

When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Great progress has been made against the disease since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Missouri remains among worst for state employee pay

Missouri still ranks among the worst in pay for state government employees.

Despite small salary increase efforts over the past few years, the state still holds the dubious distinction of ranking second to last in state pay for public employees, based on data from 2020.

The ranking comes from OpenPayrolls, the largest nationwide public salary database in the United States. The ranking is based on the average employee salary for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The comparison lacks 2020 data for Delaware and Oregon, making Missouri's average state employee salary of $28,871.45 only higher than Colorado.

According to OpenPayrolls, 34 states had an average salary above $50,000, and the average salary of all 50 states in 2020 was $57,113.

Last year, Missouri paid $2.197 billion to cover all public employee salaries, according to the Missouri Accountability Portal, an online database of state expenditures maintained by the Office of Administration.

So far this year, the state has paid a total of $1.526 billion for employee compensation through Sept. 15, the state's last pay day.

Chris Moreland, communications director for the Office of Administration, said the state spent $3.28 billion on employee salaries and fringe benefits for fiscal year 2021, meaning it made up approximately 11.1 percent of the state expenditures.

Missouri's low ranking is nothing new.

Sept. 27

Kith and Kin: Russell Sing

Russell Sing moved to Callaway County in 1989 with his family. He started out his career in the fire service at the Central Callaway County Fire Protection District as a volunteer for five years. During that time, he was working part-time at the Missouri School for the Deaf as well as attending the police academy. Once he graduated there, he moved to Mexico, Missouri, and worked for Mexico Public Safety as a training guy, fire inspector, investigator and school resource officer. Sing has been in the fire service for a little more than 20 years, and he loves it. He has been working for the City of Fulton for three years as the training officer and second in charge.

When he's not at the station, he enjoys spending most of his spare time with his family, especially his 2-year-old grandson. Otherwise, you can catch him at the golf course.

What was your first job?

My first job was working for my dad. He used to have a roofing and construction company here in Fulton. We roofed many, many houses and businesses in town.

Who inspires you the most?

Probably my parents. They have been very supportive through everything I've done; they're good role models. Family is huge to me.

Sellner fulfills voluntary roles with Daughters of the American Revolution

The genesis of Tina Sellner's patriotic involvement in the Daughters of the American Revolution is linked to her father's service in the Ohio National Guard, U.S. Army and the Air Force.

Born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, most of her early years were spent following her father's military career at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, and locations in southern and central California.

"My parents moved to Folk (Missouri) when I was 12 years old, after my father had retired from the Air Force," the former Tina Baldwin said. "When I graduated from Helias (Catholic High School) in 1971, I enrolled at Central Missouri State University and earned a bachelor of science in zoology in 1976."

While in college, she earned her teaching certificate and then began a career instructing science classes at Osage County R-2 (Linn), Helias and St. Peter Interparish School. In 1977, she married and later decided to return to college, earning a master's degree in mathematics.

"I taught math at New Bloomfield and also instructed some college-level courses at Central Methodist and Lincoln University," Sellner said. "I also taught math courses at Cole R-1 in Russellville for a few years."

Sept. 28

WWU kicks off its 2021-22 Mainstage Season Series with "Almost, Maine"

William Woods University will be kicking off it's 2021-22 Mainstage Season series will the critically acclaimed romantic comedy, "Almost, Maine."

The opening performance will be Sept. 30 at Dulany Auditorium on the university's campus.

After a full academic year of stage productions with limited audiences due to health guidelines associated with COVID-19, attendance to this year's stage plays has reopened to all members of the general public as well as the WWU campus community. All attendees are still required to wear face coverings at all times inside the theatre regardless of vaccination status.

"After a challenging year due to the pandemic, we are thrilled that our talented and committed students will once again have the opportunity to take part in our theatre productions in front of audiences that include members of the greater Fulton community," said Joe Potter, Artistic Director of the William Woods University Theatre Department. "We sorely missed having our friends and neighbors join us last year, and are excited to have them back with us in the theatre."

Mid-MO Adult Learning Center to offer free classes

The Mid-MO Adult Learning Center out of Jefferson City will be offering free classes in Fulton for those who are interested in obtaining a high school equivalency certificate.

The classes meet 9 a.m.-noon and 6-9 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the John C. Harris Community Center, 350 Sycamore St., Fulton. Classes meet from mid-August through mid-May.

The next orientation will be Oct. 5 through Oct. 7. Additional orientation classes for new students will be held periodically on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Preparation for college entrance exams, the ASVAB or workforce preparation and/or computer skills assistance are also available.

For more information about the classes, call the Mid-MO Adult Learning Center office at 573-659-3122.

Sept. 29

Fulton Rotary plans low country boil

The Fulton Rotary Club will host a Low Country Boil fundraiser from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 at the Memorial Park Pavilion, Business 54 and West 2nd Street.

Tickets are $15 and the one-pound meal of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob can be made to go or enjoyed at the pavilion, where adult beverages from the Station and music will be available. Purchase tickets by Oct. 20 online at fultonrotary-mo.org or in person at Central Bank or Peak Sport & Spine or from any Rotarian.

Proceeds benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which work with abused and neglected children in the foster care system, as well as other Fulton Rotary community service projects.

"As Rotarians, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves," Fulton Rotary fundraising chair Stephanie Vollmer said. "This year's Low Country Boil is just one way we can take action and provide support for children in crisis in Callaway County."

Hatton 4-H youth place second at the state speaking contest

Last Saturday, 4-H youth gathered at the Middlebush Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia for the annual State 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

The contest is one of Missouri 4-H's oldest and most popular traditions. The state competition features several speaking categories, including the traditional prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, technology-assisted speeches and interpretation. Youth ages 8-18 who are involved in a Missouri 4-H program were eligible to compete.

This year, Sophie Geppert, of the Hatton 4-H Club in Callaway County, competed alongside 39 others, representing 20 counties.

After a year of being virtual, 4-H'ers looked forward to attending an in-person State 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

One participant shared that the best part of this year's contest was, "being able to see old friends, meet new ones and give (their) speech in person."

Every year, the contest provides an opportunity to share skills, get feedback from judges, network with others from across the state and hear speeches that are presented by their peers.

Sept. 30

Get crafty at the Ashley Garrett Memorial Children's Art Festival

The 14th annual Ashley Garrett Memorial Children's Art Festival will be held on from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 9 at Domann Park, 305 S. Elm in Auxvasse.

At the free, family event, organized by the Auxvasse Creative Art Program, children can enjoy free arts and crafts activities, live music, food and more.

The first 150 children at the event will receive a free backsack. Each child will also receive a free lunch and book, while supplies last, donated by Scholastic. Live music will be performed by Gary Durk of Varlet Hearts.

Art festival attendees are encouraged to come early and take part in the NC Disability Awareness 5K Color Run/Walk. Children and families can participate in a 1-mile walk. Race starts at 8:30 a.m. with check-in at 8 a.m. Online registration for the NC Disability Awareness 5K Color Run/Walk is available at forms.gle/Zu6Sy9UJEHhg9cMf9.

Local organizations and businesses participating with an activity at the festival will include Oasis RSVP Tutoring of Audrain and Callaway County, Central Missouri Community Action, North Callaway Parents as Teachers and North Callaway High School Softball.

Local teachers recognized as 2021 McDonald's Oustanding Educators

Fourteen Mid-Missouri teachers were selected as the second McDonald's Outstanding Educators from a pool of more than 425 nominations.

Winners of the outstanding educator award each receive a $100 Visa gift card to use toward their classroom, a coffee mug, certificates and McDonald's coupons to provide to parents with outstanding students throughout the year. Local McDonald's restaurants added one educator this year to be awarded $1,000 Visa Gift Card as well.

The $100 McDonald's Outstanding Educator award winners include Margaret McGhghy, Jefferson City High School; Kylie Webery, Eldon Upper Elementary; Jamie Shewmake, California Elementary; Brooklyn Bledsoe, Bush Elementary School in Fulton; Amy Christen James, Southern Boone Elementary School in Ashland; Laura Hayes, School of the Osage Heritage Elementary in Lake Ozark; Linda Lou Malott, Mexico High School; Natasha Schultz, St. Pius X School in Moberly; Samuel Fessehaye, Prairie Home R-5; Cheyanne Zinck, Washington Elementary in Sedalia; Barb Hagebush, Sacred Heart School in Sedalia; and Roxanna Eckhoff, Warsaw South Elementary.

The $1,000 McDonald's Outstanding Educator award winners are Jenna Bennett, of West Boulevard Elementary School in Columbia, and Heather Ann Brown, of Laura Speed Elliott Middle School in Booneville.

Oct. 1

Westminster alumni writes book to celebrate children's voices

Westminster College alumni Nonku Kuene Adumetey is coming out with her next book, "I Celebrate My Voice."

"I Celebrate My Voice," is a book that will inspire children and families to recognize just how vast and powerful their voices are. It takes a child on a journey of self-discovery and empowers them to understand the power of using their voice. In today's world, we need books that build a child's confidence and provide tools that help them understand their own strengths. More importantly, having diverse books for all children to see themselves in is key in building lifelong self-esteem and confidence in children.

"Sometimes we as people go through so many things in our life," Kuene Adumetey said. "We go through so much pain, so much hurt. Even children, they see and experience things around them and sometimes that takes away from who they really are. It takes away from you believing in yourself. You are enough just the way you are, and you have a voice. When I wrote this book, I wanted to inspire children. It doesn't matter where they come from, they may be poor, they may be rich; they may have everything or they may have nothing. Whatever you have, wherever you grow up from you a have a voice your story, whatever the story looks like, it matters, it is who you are so that's what this book is about."

Though Kuene Adumetey graduated from Westminster in 2007 with pre-med and biology under her belt, writing became an outlet for her especially after she lost her father.

Study: More than 80% of Mo children have lead in their blood

Children in Missouri had elevated levels of lead in their blood at a greater rate than almost any other state, according to a massive national study published this week.

And more than 80 percent of Missouri children had some level of lead in their blood.

The study, authored by doctors at Boston Children's Hospital and Quest Diagnostics, was published this week in JAMA Pediatrics, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Medical Association. It included 1.1 million tests conducted by Quest Diagnostics nationwide from 2018-20.

There is no safe level of lead in a child's blood. Exposure to the metal can cause brain and nervous system damage, slow a child's growth and development and lead to learning, behavior, hearing and speech problems.

But the study focused on detectable blood lead levels, 1 microgram per deciliter, as well as elevated levels, 5 micrograms per deciliter.

In Missouri, 4.5 percent of children had elevated levels of lead in their blood. In Kansas, that figure was 2.6 percent of children, both far ahead of the 1.9 percent national average.

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