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Recycling project to give old football stadium seats new life

From Pittsburg State University

Old seats from which Gorilla fans cheered for years in Carnie Smith Stadium are being given a new life, thanks to the help of a company that employs four graduates of the Pittsburg State University Plastics Engineering Technology program.

The massive recycling effort directly aligns with the university’s sustainability initiative.

The seats were removed from the stadium last year as a renovation got underway; new seats have since been installed.

Rehrig Pacific, a supplier of large, molded plastic recycling and supply chain products like waste bins and shipping pallets, became a driving force behind finding a new use for the old ones.

Alumni employed at Rehrig include Plant Manager Chris Gab (BSET ‘01), Materials Engineering Manager Trent Williams (BST ‘09, MET ‘11), Reliability Manager Garrett Forsythe (BSET ‘08), and Process Engineer Brody Russell (BST ‘20).

“First, Rehrig performed an analysis on the scrap seat parts and agreed they could use the material in their products,” said their former teacher, Professor Paul Herring, who with Professor Rebeca Book organized the recycling effort. “Then, they shipped 49 rackable general purpose bins, which they manufacture, to PSU so the stadium seats could be loaded for shipment.”

After sorting and loading last week by current Plastics Engineering Technology students, faculty, and PSU Recycling Services, Rehrig sent a truck to haul them to DMR, a recycling company in Missouri, for reprocessing.

DMR will inspect the seat parts and remove any remaining metal pieces. The parts then will be run through a shredder and granulator. The resulting plastic granules will be sent to Rehrig to be used in the injection molding process — a process taught by Herring and Book — to create new products.

“I calculated that by recycling the seats, 300 cubic yards of volume were prevented from going into the landfill,” Herring said. “We’re loading them up and sending them off to become something new and useful.”

Others at PSU involved in the project included Tim Dawsey, executive director of the Kansas Polymer Research Center, and Tonya Pentola and Scott Broyles with PSU Recycling Services.

Missouri legislators initiate funding efforts for Joplin and surrounding area

From the city of Joplin

Area legislators are working to secure funding for Joplin and southwest Missouri to gain state funding for some key initiatives for Joplin and the metro area.

Through Missouri State Representatives Cody Smith and Lane Roberts efforts, $1 million has been included in the State of Missouri’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget for capital improvements to Joplin’s public safety center. During a recent work session, City officials identified facility upgrades and maintenance needs as part of the key initiatives for public safety.

In addition, $5 million has been allocated for water resources in support of economic development efforts in Joplin and Southwest Missouri.

“I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish for Joplin this session and thankful for the hard work and support of our Budget Committee Chairman, Representative Cody Smith,” said Rep. Roberts. “The funds we were able to secure for the public safety center and for the city’s water infrastructure were much needed and will have long-term benefits for all of us who call Joplin home.”

Rep. Smith noted, “I’m pleased to have played a role in the allocation of significant state resources for law enforcement and water infrastructure in Joplin. Undoubtedly, these investments will pay dividends for decades to come.”

Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards provided this response to this news. “These funding allocations demonstrate our state legislators’ support of Joplin and the surrounding area. Capital improvements to our public safety facility are needed, especially as we work to grow our workforce. The investment in our water resources is significant and will strengthen our ongoing economic development efforts.”

As Missouri’s budget is finalized with Governor Mike Parson’s signature, southwest Missouri will experience a substantial boost to unfunded needs for public safety as well as an appreciated investment in the area’s water infrastructure and supply.

New exhibit at the Missouri quilt museum

From the Missouri Quilt Museum

The Missouri Quilt Museum in Hamilton is pleased to announce a new exhibit of quilts from the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky.

“The theme of the new exhibit is “April Showers, May Flowers”, said Dakota Redford, curator for the museum. “The quilts in this exhibit are stunning in both their colors and in the labor of love that went into the making of these quilts.”

The National Quilt Museum is home to one of the most admired collections of modern quilts and fiber art in the world. The exhibits are made up of the same great quilts that make the Paducah experience a TripAdvisor seven-time Certificate of Excellence winner and a two-time Trip Advisor Hall of Fame winner.

“We are pleased to partner with the National Quilt Museum to bring these exhibits from one of the best quilt collections in the world to the Missouri Quilt Museum,” Redford said.

The Missouri Quilt Museum is located at 300 East Bird Street in Hamilton, Missouri. The museum is housed in the 102 year old historic Hamilton High School Building.

The “April Showers, May Flowers” exhibit will be at the Missouri Quilt Museum thru June. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. There is an admission charge.

Jill Pyle named chair of MSSU’s Dental Hygiene program

From Missouri Southern State University

Joplin, MO – Jill Pyle has been announced as the new chair of the Dental Hygiene program at Missouri Southern State University.

While she may be new to the role, she’s by no means a stranger to the program or the school.

“I got my bachelor’s degree in biology in 1995, as well as minors in chemistry and paralegal studies,” she said. “I came back and went through the dental hygiene program in 1999. I worked in private practice for the last 22 years, and for the last five years I’ve also been an adjunct instructor in the dental clinic.”

She’s also been brushing up on her teaching skills, receiving her master’s of education degree during commencement on May 14.

“I knew I wanted to do something in this field, so I got a job as a dental assistant,” said Pyle. “That’s how I fell in love with dentistry. At the time, my supervising dentist encouraged me to come back to school for the dental hygiene program.

“I love helping patients, providing patient care and building relationships. When I came to Missouri Southern, I fell in love with being an educator. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Pyle lives in Carl Junction with her husband, David, who serves as assistant superintendent of schools there. They have two children, Dylan and Lily.

Her vision for the program is to maintain a standard of excellence while putting further emphasis on community outreach.

“Missouri Southern is an excellent school. I’m excited for the future of our program,” she said. “We have a very good success rate when it comes to passing national written and clinical boards. Our faculty is outstanding. They are extremely well trained, very caring and provide an excellent education to our students.

“We currently have two grants that allow us to provide care to children in rural schools. As the KCU dental school comes to the area, we look forward to partnering with them to provide a place where lower-income families in our area to go to receive total care.”

For more information about MSSU’s Dental Hygiene program, visit

Miami (OK) seeking sponsors and vendors for July Route 66 Heritage Festival

From the Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Miami, Okla. — Sponsors and vendors are being sought for the second annual Route 66 Heritage Festival set for Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30, in the heart of Miami.

The two-day fest takes place from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday. Officials with Visit Miami OK, along with the City of Miami, are organizing the activities and anticipating another great downtown event.

“We had an amazing festival in year one and are looking forward to providing two days of family fun and entertainment,” explained Amanda Davis, Visit Miami OK executive director. “Our entire festival team was honestly overwhelmed at the response for a first-time event. We had attendees lined up for blocks down Main Street in Miami. It was a great turnout, and our committee has been hard at work for months preparing for 2022.”

According to Davis, the festival is all about positioning Miami as a Route 66 destination, adding the goal is to draw in visitors from across the world, give back to the community and celebrate Miami’s heritage.

“We hope visitors driving Route 66 will plan ahead and make this a ‘don’t miss event’,’” Davis said. “Oklahoma has more drivable miles of Route 66 than any other state. We want to capitalize on that.”

Other festival activities include the Route 66 Marketplace on Main Street, a car and bike show, 5K run, kidsville, a food truck alley, poker run, and much more.

Festival organizers are also excited about the addition of a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned barbecue competition that is expected to draw entries from around the country competing for cash prizes and a shot at the Jack Daniels Invitational.

The Smokin on the Route competition will feature four separate competitions during the two-day festival — KCBS BBQ, KCBS Steak, KCBS Backyard BBQ and KCBS Appetizer.

Registrations are open for each competition and total payout for the weekend is set at $13,800. More details are available by contacting Chuck McKibben at Visit Miami OK (CVB) at 918-542-4435 or by email at

The festival — and accompanying concerts and activities — is free. Participants are asked to bring a lawn chair and support vendors and local businesses.

“We anticipate a significant bump in sales tax, with so many people eating and spending the night,” Davis said. “Statistics show that for every new non-local dollar which comes into the community, it turns over up to seven times. The City of Miami depends heavily on sales tax growth and the festival is one way we can help drive new dollars into our community.”

Sponsorships for the festival start at $500 and go up to $10,000.

Vendor spots in the Route 66 Marketplace are $100 each for a 10×10 space. Premier Food Truck Alley spots are $500 each and General Placement Food Truck spots are $350. Vendor locations will be assigned as applications are received with full payment and required documents.

For details on sponsorships, becoming a vendor or the barbecue competition, contact the Visit Miami OK (CVB) at 918-542-4435 or email or

Additional information may be found on Facebook @MiamiOK66Fest. Deadline to register as a sponsor or vendor is July 6, 2022.

Vendors sought for Joplin Schools health, benefits and retail therapy fair

From Joplin Schools

JOPLIN, Mo. — Organizers of the Joplin Schools Health, Benefits and Retail Therapy Fair are seeking local business, food and crafting vendors to fill booth spaces at the event, which is scheduled for Friday, August 5, 2022.

The fair, which operates as a fundraiser for the district, is open to Joplin Schools employees from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm. The public is welcome between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Vendors may offer products for sale, membership details, program opportunities, food items, and more.

District Development Specialist Dorothy Alsenz said “This event is an affordable way for vendors to get in front of lots of potential customers where you can sell your products or services and create the top of mind awareness that every business needs to be successful. It is also a great way to support Joplin Schools.”

500 people attended last year’s fair, and Alsenz hopes this year’s turnout will be bigger and better thanks to a decline in COVID-19 restrictions and local case numbers.

One of the most important aspects of the fair lies in providing staff and community members with easy access to health screenings from area healthcare agencies.

Freeman Health System will offer $10 screenings to the public (these are free to Joplin Schools employees who are on the Joplin Schools Health Insurance plan) which include lipid panel/blood cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure/pulse, weight and body composition, and bone density. Additional services will be offered for reduced fees. Mercy Hospital will also offer additional screenings at no charge.

In order to encourage attendees to visit all vendor booths, vendors are strongly encouraged to provide and display a door prize valued at a minimum of $25 to be given away at the end of the event.

“This event offers a great way for businesses of all kinds to connect with our community members, to network with other business owners, and to kick off their Fall sales,” said Alsenz.

There is no entrance fee for attendees.

Vendor booths are available in 10×10, 8×10 and 4×8 spaces. Vendor applications are available by contacting or calling 417-625-5200 ext. 2046. The deadline to register is Friday, May 27.


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