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Community_living
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Area Shop with a Cop fundraising efforts underway
  • Updated

For local police departments, Shop with a Cop is a chance for area law enforcement personnel to make kids happier during the holiday season. Each year, police departments fundraise to take underserved children on a shopping spree for gifts and necessities.

Kearney

In Kearney, officers chat with Kearney School District, learning which families need help.

“We are hoping for 25 kids,” said officer David Parker, current department event co-organizer. “The school district gets us in touch with families who are struggling. I like to ask for kids who may be having a rough time.”

Last year, COVID-19 changed up the shopping efforts with officers and their spouses shopping for two days from the kids’ lists, wrapping and delivering packages. Parker said Target has also been generous with help creating a holiday meal basket.

“We are hoping to get back into the store,” Parker said. “We try to get the pressing needs such as winter clothing. Most years, we aim for $250 per kid. Not that all officers stick to that. If there’s a little over, we have a buffer.”

To help out, donations are being accepted at the department, 725 W. Highway 92, and at Kearney Trust, a local bank in the city. Parker said officers will also be at the Kearney Price Chopper off Watson Drive Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 27 and 28, to take donations.

“Some of the officers, especially the new guys, think it’s going to be chaotic, but it’s one of the best days of the year,” Parker said. “In the future, I hope to add fundraisers to the rest of the year. Stay tuned for that.”

Liberty

Unlike other police departments trying to get back to in-person shopping, the Liberty Police Department will model this year effort after last with kids providing shopping lists and officers shopping for the kids.

Lori Sutton, support services supervisor for the Liberty Police Department as well as this event coordinator, said this year the department created a new fundraiser, offering a Liberty Police Department ornament for purchase.

“We have about 50 ornaments left,” Sutton said. “They are $15 per ornament or two for $25.”

Currently, the department is looking at shopping for about 10 kids and the first purchases will be for winter clothing needs. The shopping cap is around $200 per child. She receives referrals from the school district, churches and even a few during the Liberty Fall Festival.

“We were really debating whether to get back together with the kids,” she said. “I think it’s still about safety. No matter which, it’s about meeting the needs first and then the wants.”

To make donations, stop at the Liberty City Hall records window at 101 E. Kansas St. during regular business hours in downtown Liberty. Donations can also be left at dispatch on weekends.

“Donations are always welcomed,” Sutton said. “I’m always excited, and the officers as well the kids are too.”

Smithville

Officer Claire Henry said Smithville officers will most likely take around 26 kids shopping in early December for her department’s Shop with a Cop effort.

“The Smithville School District, one of our partners, refers kids to us,” she said. “During the year, we host events to gather donations, and thankfully donations were up last year so that is in the bank.”

However, the officers are always game to see some more funds. Right now, Henry seeks auction items for the Shop with a Cop fundraising page.

“We have had local churches put together baskets that have gone over well,” she said. “There have been movie and coffee-themed ones. There’s a woman who makes fleece blankets for us.”

The auction will run Sunday to Monday, Nov. 28 to Dec. 6, on Smithville Police’s “Shop With a Cop” Facebook page.

“Find out about the auction, check out previous shopping days and if you want to help out, send us a message,” Henry said.

For the past few years, the officers have be able to spend $250 per child.

“Mostly we help them buy for themselves,” she said. “However, we have let them pick out small gifts for Mom, Dad or a sibling. This really is one of the best days of the year.”

Along with the auction, donations can be made through Amazon Smile. Visit amazon.com for details. Donations can also be dropped off at the station, 107 W. Main St.


News
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Phone scammers manipulate Caller ID
  • Updated

Missouri Capitol Police report scammers are manipulating Caller ID so calls appear to be coming from Missouri Capitol Police.

“This is a scam known as spoofing and can be used to try to obtain personal information from you. Do not fall for this scam,” states a release from Capitol Police.

More than two dozen people who received these fraudulent calls reached out to Capitol Police. The greatest number of reports of fraudulent calls appear to have come from people in Missouri and Texas.

“Unfortunately, spoofing phone numbers of trusted organizations or local numbers by fraudulent callers is all too common,” states the release.

State Capitol police are not the only law enforcement reporting an uptick in scams. Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports several recent scams have ben circulating in the area. Scams have included a person calling registered sex offenders claiming to be a sheriff’s office detective and people making spoof social profiles to defraud residents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has intercepted and returned more than $800,000 in cash that victims sent to scammers so far in 2021,” states a sheriff’s office social media post from October. “Have a frank discussion with older loved ones to educate them about scams and the need to protect their privacy on social media accounts.”

Another scam recently circulating here in Clay County is the “romance military scam.”

“A scammer posing as a U.S. military general or commander contacts women online and tries to develop a romantic relationship with them. The scammer says he wants to come back to the United States to be with the victim, but he is stuck overseas with his money tied up in the United Nations and cannot get home,” states a sheriff’s office social media post. “He asks for money to return home so they can be together. This scam targets elderly women.”

To help Missourians stay safe, law enforcement agencies suggest these tips:

• Do not answer calls from unknown phone numbers.

• Do not hit any buttons if the caller asks you to. Hang up immediately.

• Do not answer any questions, especially ones regarding your personal information.

• Never reveal personal information like your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, passwords or credit card numbers.

• Never assume the caller is the person they say they are. If you receive a call from somebody representing a company or a government agency, hang up and call back the phone number on the company or agency’s website. This will allow you to verify the caller.

“Understand that scammers are experienced at manipulating people to gain their trust through deception. Always be skeptical. Hang up immediately if you think you’re being scammed to avoid becoming a victim,” states the Capitol Police release.


Community_living
Local groups need help to help needy

As the holiday season starts to roll out, several Northland seek a variety of help to help others.

Synergy Services

Synergy Services, with locations in Platte and Clay counties, needs donations of food items to help to “fill a Thanksgiving plate.”

The shopping list of needs includes 16-ounce boxes of instant potatoes, packets of gravy mix, cans of green beans, French fried onions, cans of cranberry sauce, pie crusts, cans of pumpkin or fruit pie filling, stuffing mix, and a 12-pack of soda or juice boxes. Also needed are $20 gift cards for Walmart so that a turkey can be purchased.

For delivery arrangements, questions or other information, contact Jennifer Hurst at jhurst@synergyservices.org.

Liberty Christmas Tree

The Liberty Christmas Tree needs volunteers to adopt families in need who signed up to receive presents and food for the holiday.

Each year, more than 350 families apply for assistance from the Liberty Community Christmas Tree program.

Volunteers must attend a shopper meeting to select a family to purchase items for. Families are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring a valid driver’s license to the meeting. Meetings are 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 30 to Dec 2, in Heritage Hall, 117 W. Kansas St.

After the family name has been received, the adopter must call the family to ask what children would like for Christmas, purchase those gifts using a gift card given at the shopper meetings, wrap and label all gifts and bring them along to Heritage Hall Saturday, Dec. 11. There the adopter will pick up boxes of canned goods and perishable food items. The final step is to for the adopter to deliver the food and gifts to the family.

If a family can’t fully adopt another, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Liberty Christmas Tree Commission to collect nonperishable food items for families. Donations of these items can be dropped in collection barrels in the main lobby of the office at 12 S. Main St. in Liberty.

Suggested items include peanut butter and jelly, canned meats such as tuna and chicken, canned soups and crackers, canned or dried fruit, applesauce, canned vegetables, pasta in boxes, pasta sauce and dried herbs and spices.

The barrels will be up through Dec. 3.


Coronavirus
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FDA expands eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine boosters
  • Updated

On Friday, Nov. 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, allowing use of a single booster dose for all individuals 18 and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.

“Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has worked to make timely public health decisions as the pandemic evolves. COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be the best and highly effective defense against COVID-19. Authorizing the use of a single booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older helps to provide continued protection against COVID-19, including the serious consequences that can occur, such as hospitalization and death,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock.

Prior to Friday’s authorizations, a single booster dose of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines was authorized for administration to individuals 65 years of age and older, individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19 and individuals 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

“Today’s action expands the use of booster doses of both vaccines to include all individuals 18 years of age and older at least six months after completion of the primary vaccination series of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or at least two months after completion of primary vaccination with the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine,” states a Friday FDA release.

“The FDA has determined that the currently available data supports expanding the eligibility of a single booster dose of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to individuals 18 years of age and older,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Streamlining the eligibility criteria and making booster doses available to all individuals 18 years of age and older will also help to eliminate confusion about who may receive a booster dose and ensure booster doses are available to all who may need one.”

Data supporting effectiveness

The EUA for a single booster dose for individuals 18 years of age and older for the Moderna (administered as half of the dose of a primary series dose) and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines is based on the FDA’s analysis of immune response data that supported use in the previously authorized populations for boosters.

For the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine booster dose, the FDA analyzed the immune response data from 149 participants 18 and older from the original clinical studies who received a booster dose at least six months after their second dose and compared it to the immune responses of 1,055 study participants after completing their two-dose series. The antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus 29 days after a booster dose of the vaccine demonstrated a booster response.

For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine booster dose, the FDA analyzed the immune response data from approximately 200 participants 18 through 55 years of age who received a single booster dose about six months after their second dose. The antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus one month after a booster dose of the vaccine when compared to the response one month after the two-dose primary series in the same individuals demonstrated a booster response.

FDA evaluation of benefits and risks

Since Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech initially submitted safety and effectiveness data on a single booster dose following primary vaccination to the FDA, additional real-world data has become available on the recently increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and on the risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) following vaccination with these vaccines.

“These additional data enabled the FDA to reassess the benefits and risks of the use of these vaccines in the general adult population. The FDA has determined that the benefits of a single booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis in individuals age 18 years of age and older when used following completion of primary vaccination to provide continued protection against COVID-19 and the associated serious consequences that can occur including hospitalization and death,” states the FDA release.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are conducting post-authorization/post-marketing studies to assess known serious risks of myocarditis and pericarditis. In addition, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control have systems in place to monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety and allow for detection and investigation of potential safety concerns.

“The fact sheets for both vaccines for recipients and caregivers and for health care providers contain information about the potential side effects, including the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. The most commonly reported side effects by individuals who received a booster dose of the vaccines were pain, redness and swelling at the injection site as well as fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain and chills,” states the FDA. “Of note, swollen lymph nodes in the underarm were observed more frequently following the booster dose than after the primary two-dose series.”


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