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The U.S. National Weather Service is reporting a Freeze Warning through the Kansas City area until 9 a.m. Saturday, April 4.

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SMITHVILLE — A weeklong virtual challenge aims to draw Smithvillians outdoors through the first week of April while remaining socially distant.

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LIBERTY — Due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, Liberty Parks and Recreation closes its basketball, pickleball, volleyball and tennis courts, Bennett Park skatepark and all of Stocksdale Park by the end of day today, Tuesday, March 30, until further notice.

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SMITHVILLE — All playgrounds in Smithville are temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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KANSAS CITY — Due to ongoing challenging conditions with wet soils and higher than normal river levels across the Missouri River Basin, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District is canceling plans to increase water levels in reservoirs for the spring as stated in the annual water…

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Out of an abundance of caution and in reaction to the presence of COVID-19 in Missouri, Missouri State Parks will temporarily close all campgrounds and lodging effective Friday, March 27, through Thursday, April 30. This includes campgrounds, park-run lodging and concessionaire-run lodging. …

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LIBERTY — The day before a stay-at-home order was implemented in the Kansas City metropolitan area, local school staff decided to try to spread a little joy while observing social distancing recommendations.

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Missouri Department of Conservation will close its five staffed shooting ranges starting Friday, March 20, through April 15. MDC will reassess the situation at that point. MDC unstaffed shooting ranges remain open.

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KANSAS CITY NORTH — Retired Kansas City Parks and Recreation Director Mark McHenry was confirmed to the Missouri Conservation Commission in the middle of February.

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Missouri Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for anticipated funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Interested individuals, community organizations and research institutions working to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Missouri can submit their a…

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LIBERTY — Community members can learn the basics of young ornamental or shade tree pruning from the Heartland Tree Alliance during a two-hour workshop that starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 21, at Second Baptist Church, 300 E. Kansas St., Liberty. Participants are encouraged to bring work glo…

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Leaders of the Missouri Department of Conservation remind hunters and anglers that annual hunting and fishing permits expire at the end of February, including 2019 permits for small game, fishing, trout fishing and combination hunting and fishing.

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LIBERTY — The naturalists at Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, 407 N. LaFrenz Road, will hold a watch for the American Woodcock starting at 6 p.m., Friday, March 6.

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The Liberty Parks and Recreation Department has been working to bring the community together for the Team Up to Clean Up Liberty Parks. On Feb. 17, a handful of community members and city staff united to clean up Ruth Moore Park, 401 Grover St.

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LIBERTY — On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, visitors to Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, 407 N. LaFrenz Road, can help count birds for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. On Friday, the event goes from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday's time is 9 a.m. to noon.

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It’s a sad time, … duck season has ended. I can switch to something else quickly if the weather stays nice enough to make the walleye begin to move earlier. The past week was one of great enjoyment to me as my old Labrador and I walked miles of river, jump shooting mallards and gadwalls from…

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SMITHVILLE — Smithville firefighters rushed to Smithville Lake at about 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, after coyote hunters called about drowning deer that fell through the ice.

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LIBERTY — The City of Liberty’s Preservation and Development Commission is accepting applications for the 2020 Neighborhood Enhancement Grant Program. This matching program allows residents to identify priorities for their neighborhood and undertake the enhancement project together.

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I am amazed at the great increase in the number of “large-species” birds. Back in the fall there were thousands of huge white pelicans in the Ozarks. Most likely there are ten times as many pelicans today as there were a hundred years ago. I could write a whole column about pelicans, a fasci…