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Ballot questions await voters across county

Government entities across the Northland will have questions posed to voters on the Nov. 2 ballot. The following is a brief rundown of those questions.

Clay County

Clay County voters will decide to continue or stop the existing one-eighth cent sales tax that funds about 25% of the sheriff’s office annual budget. The sales tax has been in place since 1998 and is put to voters for renewal every 12 years. In the last fiscal year, it generated about $5 million.

The Clay County Commission voted to remove the 12-year sunset on the tax in the upcoming ballot language, meaning if renewed this November, it will no longer need to be voted on every dozen years by the electorate. The county commission however, could repeal the tax at any time.

The question posed to voters is “Shall the county of Clay extend and impose a countywide sales tax at the rate of one-eighth of 1% for the purpose of providing law enforcement services for the county to include maintenance of current law enforcement facilities and all operational costs to provide for the incarceration of inmates, including additional law enforcement personnel?”

This tax, if continued, will not increase the county’s current sales tax levy. If approved, the county commission will annually appropriate the funds, with the funds audited annually.


Voters in Kearney city limits will again be asked to approve a use tax. The question was last put to voters on the April ballot.

The question on the November ballot reads, “Shall the city of Kearney impose a local use tax at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate, provided that if the local sales tax rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be reduced or raised by the same action?”

If approved, it will mean purchases from out-of-state vendors delivered to a Kearney address will be taxed as an item purchased in a Kearney store is. The measure would generate roughly $600,000 annually for the city.

In addition, if the ballot question is not approved, some of the city’s current revenue, to the tune of roughly $200,000, is at risk as the city currently receives sales tax revenue when a resident purchases a car from out-of-state. If a use tax is not adopted by November 2022, that revenue will be lost.

If passed, the use tax would only be applied to purchases from out-of-state vendors for delivery and use in Kearney. The tax would be equivalent to sales tax applied to local purchases.

“It’s one or the other, never both. A purchase would not be taxed twice,” states a city release.

If the tax is approved, $150,000 would allow for hiring two police officers and providing them squad vehicles; $100,000 would provide for the city’s first animal control officer and needed equipment; $200,000 would help create Hall Park, a park dedicated to seniors, as well as fund new pickleball courts; and $150,000 would be dedicated to a Nation Road sidewalk that would run from Cottonwood Creek Avenue north to Woodridge Road.

Holt Community Fire

Protection District

Residents who live in the Holt Community Fire Protection District of Clay and Clinton counties will be asked to vote on a tax levy to fund district operations.

The question reads, “Shall the Holt Community Fire Protection District of Clay and Clinton counties, Missouri be authorized to levy an additional operating tax levy of not more than $0.35 per $100 assessed valuation to provide funds for the operation of the district?”

According to district leadership, if passed, the added tax will cost a district patron with a $185,000 residence about $96.81 annually and about $23 annually for a person with a $20,000 vehicle.

Funds would pay for equipment and personnel.

Village of Oakwood Park

In addition to other questions on the ballot, the Village of Oakwood Park is seeking approval of a special $300 annual tax. The questions reads, “Shall a special tax be assessed annually against each resident household of the Village of Oakwood Park in the sum of $300.00 for a period of 10 years, which will be used only for sewer maintenance and street maintenance?”

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WWII vet marks 100th birthday

LIBERTY — Amador Barbosa turned 100 years old Tuesday, Oct. 26. There was a celebration with friends and family at his current residence, Our Lady of Mercy Country Home.

Barbosa is all smiles and shrugs as he thinks about hitting the century mark.

“It crept up on me,” he said. “I have lived an active life and before I knew it, I grew old.”

In the hallway, a bright red scooter sits waiting for its owner. Barbosa said he has to enjoy those wheels now.

“I drove until I was 97,” he said. “My son took my keys. I miss it, I went everywhere. I love to drive. I have to settle for the chariot in the hall.”

The driving loss was said in jest as Barbosa understands that he has aged.

Barbosa takes some medication, but he eats what he wants. His parents, who came from the Mexican state of Guanajuato, instilled a love of fresh foods and freshly-prepared dishes.

“My parents ran the city’s first Mexican restaurant,” he said. “There were lots of favorite meals. I learned Mexican from my parents. Italian from the neighbors we lived next to and my second wife and I explored improving recipes over the years.”

After graduation Barbosa spent roughly two years working in an aluminum factory, until he was drafted into the Army on Jan. 8, 1942, at the age of 21.

Before military service, he attended Manuel High School and was a varsity letterman in swimming, a skill that would later help him during the D-Day invasion.

Barbosa is a World War II veteran who bravely landed on the Normandy beach June 6, 1944. He was knocked flat three times by incoming German bombs at Omaha Beach.

His primary and possibly lethal responsibility during the war was to clear mines and unexploded devices as well as trudge through combat lines with 30 pounds of dynamite strapped to his back as a combat engineer with the 112th.

Barbosa remembers struggling to wade ashore as he helped one of his fellow soldiers onto the beach. But Barbosa, like thousands of other Americans that day, surged ahead in the landmark Allied victory of World War II.

After Normandy, his battalion headed into northern France near the front lines, where their daily duties were rigorous, including guarding prisoners and clearing away more mines. He ended up fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.

Barbosa was awarded a Good Conduct and Soldiers’ Medals as well as a Presidential Unit Citation Badge for his part in the invasion of Normandy.

He was honorably discharged on Oct. 26, 1945, as a private first class and returned to the states to work for the same business that employed him before the draft. The company had switched from aluminum to plastic manufacturing as many companies decided to move to plastics during the war.

“I started at the bottom and then worked to the top as a lead tool and mold maker,” he said. “I even did some experimental work with other companies. They didn’t want me to retire.”

But after retirement, Barbosa spent much of his retirement giving to several American Legion posts.

Married twice, Barbosa has two children, Florence and Edward. He has several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“In my life, I like to make people happy,” he said. “My faith is important to me. I believe in being kind. I also aimed to help others improve what they are doing. If I could give people a push, I would.”

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Moderna, J&J COVID-19 booster shots now available to eligible Missourians
  • Updated

Following federal guidance issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has amended the state’s standing orders for Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine administration for those who are eligible for a booster shot, according to a state press release.

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series: 65 years and older; age 18 and older who live in long-term care settings; age 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions; and age 18 and older who work or live in high-risk settings.

For those who got the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

“While it is important that those who are eligible begin getting their booster doses, 36 percent of Missourians age 12 and up haven’t yet received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and it’s not too late to do so,” said Donald Kauerauf, director of DHSS. “Taking that step now would provide one with a high level of protection for the holidays.”

COVID-19 booster shots are administered anywhere the COVID-19 vaccine is available. Individuals do not need to get their booster shot at the same location they received their initial series. Those seeking a booster shot can visit MOStopsCovid.com to find a nearby provider and schedule an appointment or locate a walk-in clinic.

Individuals can also get the flu shot at the same time they receive the COVID-19 booster shot. Flu vaccines are now available, and it is recommended annually for everyone 6 months and older. Find a flu shot near you at MOStopsFlu.com.

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Smithville district's COVID gating criteria could alter school mask-wearing

SMITHVILLE — Weekly, Smithville School District leadership collects data on COVID-19 positivity rates as well as quarantines among students and staff in schools and the central office. Starting Monday, Nov. 1, depending on what the newly-implemented gating criteria shows, masks may be optional under certain conditions.

Denise Harwood, student services director for the district, created gating criteria after the September school board meeting. Other districts around the state implement masking and other safety protocols based on factors such as number of cases per school and student population, plus they are creating gating criteria specific to their districts.

As of Oct. 2, there were 2,858 in schools, which include students, staff and other personnel. Harwood set up the criteria in a green, yellow and red color scheme with green being 1% or less of a school building’s population testing positive or being in quarantine, yellow for 1.1 to 4% infection and quarantine rate and red for 4.1% or more.

Allowances for schools in the green zone include optional masking for staff and students, social distancing not required in most situations and field trips permitted. Also in this zone, visitors are permitted, but must mask up.

In the yellow or caution zone, social distancing of 3 feet is required as are masks in high-traffic and small group areas, field trips are allowed with “mitigation measures” in place. Assemblies are also permitted if social distancing protocols are maintained. In this zone, visitors are allowed only if they wear a mask.

In the red zone, the most restricted, masks are required indoors at all times and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. In this zone, classes cohort for recess and no field trips or visitors are allowed. Assemblies are also restricted.

Regardless of color zone, masks will still be required on all school buses per federal mandate.

Currently, the threshold for the high school to stay in the green is to have 10 cases or under. At the middle school it is up to four cases; and up to five for the elementaries.

During the week of Oct. 13 to 19, the high school had four positive cases and Eagle Heights Elementary had 10. The middle school had one and the other two elementary schools had two cases.

Initially Harwood wanted to wait and keep the current masking requirements in place, but the board voted to move quicker with the Nov. 1 date.

School board member Ian Saxton called the criteria a direction to try.

“If there is merit,” he said, “why wait?”

At a recent school board meeting, member Susan Whitacre said she worries about pushing the efforts as the FDA has not yet made vaccinations available for those aged 5 to 11.

Superintendent Todd Schuetz sent out a letter to families last week, explaining the gating criteria. According to information sent to families, after data is collected from Oct. 27, families will be notified prior to Nov. 1 regarding the masking policy at the child’s school and will be “notified again should the practice change as dictated by the data.”