TangerKIDS Grants open for applications

By AJ Meakins
ajmeakins@bransontrilakesnews.com

TangerKIDS Grants open for applications
A Branson shopping destination, Tanger Outlets Branson announces applications are open for their 2022 TangerKIDS Grants.
Tanger Outlets Branson launched their TangerKIDS Grant program in 1996, with a mission of providing funding for schools in the community.
According to a press release from Tanger, the program serves future generations of leaders by providing funds for special programs at local schools
geared toward inclusivity. Applications are now open for this year’s grants, with program updates that further incorporate the company’s mission,
vision and values, states the release. Tanger Outlets invites teachers and other education leaders to identify and apply for grants meeting their school’s specific needs as they work to create a more productive and inclusive learning environment. In previous years, TangerKIDS Grants have funded notable projects,
programs and equipment for schools, including: – Branson Backpack Club Program – Reeds Spring Excellence in Literacy – Taneyville Sensory Lab

“Tanger Outlets Branson remains committed to ensuring local students and their schools receive the tools they need to make learning accessible and
inclusive,” Tanger Outlets Marketing Director Karen Foutch said. “Our goal is to open doors and inspire students, and the generous support from our shoppers
has been instrumental in helping us make a positive impact on the next generation.” The program is funded by Tanger shoppers, as $1 from every Tanger coupon
book sold at the center is donated toward the program. New in 2022, community members will also be invited to have a voice in selecting grant winners.
The annual program is open to public and private schools from pre-K to grade 12. Applications for 2022 will be accepted through June 30 and can
be submitted at grants. tangeroutlets.com. Recipients will be announced in August.

Gift bags brighten the days of cancer patients

By AJ Meakins
ajmeakins@bransontrilakesnews.com

Local resident, Rose Backlin, gives back to area cancer patients in honor of her father. Backlin began the ‘Don’t Give Up Gear’ program in the fall of 2020 and every three months gives out 30 bags with community-donated items to help put a
smile on the face of cancer patients at Branson Cancer Center. “These bags started in small makeup bags and have grown,” Backlin told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “The items always vary, but a few examples would be Fuzzy/Warm socks, Hats, Scarves, Snack Items, homemade rice heating pad, word search books, pens, Germ-x, lotion, stress balls, peppermints, small
sewing kits, first aid kits, and so many more. This program is to bring a smile to their face.” Backlin said her dad, the late Danny Pride, is her inspiration to give back. “He had cancer for many years and passed June 2020 due to cancer. Talking to his nurses at the Branson Cancer Center, they told me how he always made the other patients smile or would reach out to the
new patients when they were nervous to help ease their nerves or even try to encourage them,” Backlin said.

“They said he always had the best attitude no matter how his day was going. My Dad was always cracking a joke with people
around him, especially people he saw regularly or he was just being ‘ornery so these stories just made sense. After (he) passed I wanted to continue bringing smiles to those patients that are going through a rough time and could use that
small gesture to help them make it another day. My dad always thought the reason he could keep going on for so long with chemo was because of his attitude. Now I can help adjust someone else’s attitude.”

Cancer Center of Branson Oncology Patient Navigator Angelia Huels said she remembered Pride and the way he would be there for other patients. “(Rose) and (her) group that are thinking of these patients and families are a blessing and encouragement,” Huels said. “Just like (her) dad, who would come by and visit with people and encourage each of them in
some way.”

On March 16, Cox Medical Center Branson posted this on their Facebook page about Backlin’s program:
A loving legacy. An act of kindness. Our friend Rose started a tradition awhile back while her father was undergoing cancer
treatments. Every few months, she’d drop off goodie bags for our cancer patients crammed full of fun stuff like snacks, fuzzy socks and games. They bring the BIGGEST smiles. She lost her dad Danny but continues the tradition as a way to honor him. We hate cancer with our whole heart! As much as we also miss Danny, we love seeing Rose walk through our doors and the smiles she brings with her bags. Thank you for the joy! There are many things about the program Backlin says makes her feel
she is doing the right thing and gives her the joy of knowing what she does is rewarding. “The most rewarding part of this program is honoring my Dad first and watching his impact on others continue even though he is gone,” Backlin said. “Secondly, it’s simply knowing I made someone smile, cheered them up, or gave them encouragement to keep fighting.” Backlin’s gift bags
have been a beacon of kindness when times are dark for many patients and their families.

She recently had a Facebook message from someone whose mother was a patient at the Cancer Center of Branson. “Rose Backlin, I just want to thank you for doing this. One of the last conversations me and my mom had last year before she died was how a ‘sweet lady brought stuff in for everyone.’ You literally made her day with that, and it was hard for her to have good days being back on treatment,” the Facebook message read. Backlin said she has never kept count of how many bags she has given out but thinks it is between 150 to 180 so far. The community can help her with this mission by gifting items for the bags. “To help the program I am always looking for items to put in the bags. I request that there be 30 of each item so all the bags are the same and nothing perishable. Any item that would bring a smile or some encouragement would be appreciated,” Backlin said. “Eventually, I would love to be able to place restaurant and gas gift cards into the bags.” The bags are a way to pass along kindness to patients who are going through so much, Backlin said. “I would like everyone to know how thankful I am to have this support from the community. I started out with no intention besides passing on some kindness and smiles in my Dad’s honor,” Backlin said. “I can’t develop the words to describe how I feel for all this support or the feelings I get when I leave from dropping the bags off. It is indescribable!”

Backlin recently created a Facebook page called ‘Don’t Give Up Gear’.“The Facebook page is where I will be updating what the cancer patients are needing or wanting and when the collection dates will be.” For more information contact Rose through the Facebook page.

JATC’s ‘Tender Critters’ project continues

Junior Auxiliary of Taney County continues to supply “Tender Critters” to agencies that need something that offers comfort to children in trauma situations. Tender Critters are new 6” to 18″ stuffed animals that JATC collects or buys and donates to agencies that use them to help comfort children who are in trauma.  Holding a soft cuddly stuffed animal helps kids think of something other than what’s going on around them.  Last month JATC donated over 175 stuffed animals to the Cox Branson ER, the Taney County Sherriff’s Office, and the Taney County Health Department.

 When children face the confusing and often scary experience of a hospital emergency room visit or a hospital stay, or receiving a shot at the Health Department, a cuddly stuffed animal can be the difference between anxiety and reassurance. You can brighten a child’s day by donating one of these “Critters”.

 “Tender Critters” is one of the longest running projects for JATC, with members donating new stuffed animals at each of their monthly meetings.  This collection is a year-round effort and JATC invites members of the community to join us in brightening a child’s day by donating a “tender critter” at any time.  Just send a message to jatcmo@gmail.com, and a JATC member will contact you about picking up your donation.

 A special thanks to Legends in Concert who held their area appreciation for residents of Stone and Taney County last month.  Any guest who brought a new stuffed animal to donate to JATC’s Tender Critter project received a free upgrade to preferred seating. Close to 120 “Critters” were collected.

 JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it’s a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney County.  That’s the magic of JATC.  It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County. JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in almost 100 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,

Cox Medical Center Branson dedicating “Prayer Square”

Cox Medical Center Branson is dedicating a space on their campus for prayer. The “Prayer Square” is being dedicated Aug. 23, starting at 10 a.m., at the top level of the main parking lot near the Medical Center’s flagpole, according to a press release. 

Cox Branson President William Mahoney hopes the square can be a place of unity. “We’re asking folks to say a prayer for our entire community,” Mahoney said in the release. “This is to support our hospital staff, patients, teachers, students, families, and anyone else making decisions or having a hard time in what has been a really difficult 18 months.”

Hospital officials credit College of the Ozarks Vice President Dr. Sue Head with the idea for a prayer space on the medical campus.  “The Ozarks is known for its warm hospitality and for its core values: faith, family, flag, friends, and future. This is our legacy,” Head said in the press release. “Now is the time for us to unite in our shared values rather than focusing our differences, which are pulling us apart. What if we all took a day to be united in prayer for our medical professionals, our non-profits, our first responders, and our schools that have all heroically worked to meet the needs of our community during this pandemic? We are all better together, so let’s gather in the “Prayer Squares” throughout the Ozarks to pray for our friends and neighbors who are struggling.”

Dr. Head is a member of the hospital’s Board of Directors. Another member of the hospital’s board, Pam Yancey, said in the press statement she hopes the “Prayer Square” will become a representation of the best of the community. “The heart of this community is so good,” Yancey said in the press statement. “Coming together to support each other is what we’ve always done. We hope this special Square will help us get back to that.  “This isn’t about politics, it’s about our people. Our community may not always agree on everything, but I know we all want health and happiness for our friends and neighbors.”

LEGACY ACADEMY RAISES $50,000 IN FUNDRAISER

Branson, MO — Legacy Academy, a classical Christian education school, raised $50,000 in a BINGO fundraiser to help families provide uniforms in the 2021- 2022 school year and to create a uniform scholarship fund. Using BINGO cards, participants earned money by performing curriculum-related tasks assigned a dollar amount. The fundraising effort was completed by the children attending Legacy Academy, their friends and families, and support from area businesses.

Dr. Tim Taylor, Secretary of the Board of Education and Headmaster at Legacy Academy, explained that a classical Christian education is rigorous and requires a concentrated focus on academics. To maintain this focus and limit distractions, Legacy decided to implement a uniform policy. “We are very serious about partnering with parents, and we didn’t want the financial burden of providing uniforms to be an obstacle for families,” Taylor said.

According to Taylor, the goal was to raise money to help parents purchase uniforms and to establish a scholarship fund to help future parents with financial needs. “We accomplished just that!” Taylor added.

The administration of Legacy Academy reached out to parents interested in forming a Uniform Fundraising Committee, and the response was overwhelming. “We are thrilled with the incredible success of this fundraiser. It really demonstrates the love and support our parents have for the school, and the community we have together” Kathryn Jones, Director at Legacy Academy said.

Jones continued to highlight the successful fundraiser:

  • A total of $50,000 was raised.
  • There was a 91% participation rate in the school.
  • 49 out of the 58 children who participated have their uniforms paid for.
  • A healthy scholarship fund was also created for families that need financial assistance to cover uniforms in the future.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped support our school as we work diligently to train Godly young men and women who will grow to lead and serve in our community. I am honored to be a part of the Legacy team,” Jones added.

Kristy Farris, Fundraiser Committee Chair, elaborated on the success of the school and community raising over $50,000 in 14 days. “I think we can all agree that God’s hands were all over this fundraiser. We are immensely grateful for all that Legacy represents as a growing, classical Christian school in our community!” Farris said.

Farris added that the fundraising committee was grateful to the business donations that helped this fundraiser as well. “What a fantastic area we live in, where Faith, Family, and Freedom, are truly lived every day! Thank you, Stonebridge Resort, Oakley Auto World, and Hogan Land Title, for your generous monetary support and for helping us #buildaLegacy!” she said. “A huge thank you also to these businesses that donated time, services, and products to our school: Branson Limousine & Executive Charter, The Track Family Fun Parks, Andy’s Frozen Custard, Reza Edge of Illusion Magic Show, Chick-fil-a Branson, Fritz’s Adventure, and Cakes n Cream 50’s Diner.”

On Friday, April 23, the entire school celebrated the success of the fundraiser with an assembly. The BINGO-themed fundraiser included unique incentives for the students as they continued their learning and raised funds for the school. Some of those incentives included getting to take their shoes off in class, silly stringing Dr. Taylor, and pieing their coaches.

Legacy Academy will add fifth grade next year (2021-2022) with a maximum class size of 18. There are openings available in Second, Third, and Fourth Grade. For more information on a classical Christian education, please email office@legacybranson.com, call 417-336-2139, or visit legacybranson.com.

About Legacy Academy

Legacy Academy is a private, classical Christian school in Branson, MO. In the spring of 2016, a small group of parents approached FBC Branson Pastor Neil Franks with the idea of starting a private Christian school.  Over the next several months, numerous conversations led to the birth of Legacy Christian Academy during the 2016-17 school year.  Legacy started at the First Baptist Church of Branson with a kindergarten class comprised of 6 students.  Having added one grade per year, today Legacy has 64 students in grades K-4.  The Legacy Board of Education is committed to the continued expansion of Legacy through grade 12.  Looking toward the future, our current fifth-grade class will be seniors during the 2028-29 school year, and the first graduation will take place in May 2029. 

“Legacy Academy exists to develop mature Christ-followers to be poured out as salt and light onto the world. Through academic excellence rooted in the classical model, we strive to partner with parents to provide a Christ-centered education, dedicated to shaping students’ affections toward that which is true, good, and beautiful.”

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Galena putting heart rate monitors to work in and out of the classroom – Devices funded by Skaggs Legacy Endowment Grant

When Galena School Nurse Julie Hagler requested a $4,000 Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant to purchase heart rate monitors in February 2020, she wanted to give students a tool to help self-regulate behavior.

Hagler was awarded the grant but the COVID-19 pandemic had already hit, causing teachers across the nation to take on double duty.

“Teachers are so overwhelmed with teaching seated and virtual students that finding the time for them to be trained on the curriculum (for the heart rate monitors) has been a challenge,” Hagler said.

In the meantime, Hagler has found another way to get familiar with the monitors and put them to use.

Galena’s track and cross country teams have been using the IHT Spirit Monitor System this spring. The heart rate monitors and software helps students track their progress, see when they can push themselves harder and even improve breathing techniques.

“I was able to take it to my doctor to figure out how I could make my breathing better,” said runner Maci Doak, a sophomore at Galena High School. “It helps me with my endurance and my speed and I can get more air in so I don’t tire so easily.”

“As a team, we’ve had some really good discussions about our heart rate and where it is at,” said track and cross country coach Shawna Sartin, who also is Galena’s director of special services.

Sartin said trialing the devices on older students has been great, but she is excited to see the monitors put into use in the regular classroom.

“Students identified by their teacher will participate in a series of introductory meetings to learn about the heart rate monitors and then be taught techniques to control emotions when they see their heart rate is elevated,” explained Hagler. “Students are very tech savvy and the monitors give an alert screen in green, yellow or red to indicate heart rate.”

The devices will help students recognize how their body feels when they are under stress. When they see they are under stress, they’ll be equipped to know techniques to self-regulate their emotions before their emotions get out of control, disrupting their learning and potentially the entire classroom.

“Students will start to be able to know what it feels like when their heart rate goes up and then know what they can do to control those emotions,” Sartin said.

At the end of each day, students will return the devices to a docking station. Data from the day is then uploaded and a report is sent to both the teacher and parents. 

The report will help parents and teachers start to see patterns and recognize potential triggers.

“We want to give students the tools they need to help self-regulate behavior without having to be removed from the classroom,” Hagler said. “Keeping students in the classroom, learning and teaching them these self-regulation techniques will benefit them not just now, but throughout their lifetime.”

Hagler said they plan to begin using the heart rate monitors in the regular classroom during the upcoming summer school session.

To learn more about Skaggs Legacy Endowment and grant opportunities, visit SkaggsFoundation.org.

Veterans group gives scholarships to local seniors

By AJ Meakins; ajmeakins@bransontrilakesnews.com

Four local seniors received $750 scholarships for their exceptional essays.

On Monday, April 26 the Branson Veterans of America Chapter 913 presented four scholarships with the William G. Groninger Scholarship for the essays on “What is a democracy and what is a republic? Which is the United States?”, according to Scholarship Committee Chairman Bob Sarver.

The 2021 recipients were: Emilee Rowe, a senior from School of the Ozarks, who plans to attend New Mexico Military Institute reporting July 30. She plans to go on the to the Air Force Academy to pursue her dream of being a flight surgeon.

Ashely Matthew, a senior from Forsyth High School, who is be attending the University of Arkansas to major in business and pre-law.

Joshua Strahan, a senior from Forsyth High School, who will be attending Missouri Valley with a football scholarship to major in abribusiness.

Ashley Nolan, a senior from Reeds Spring High School, who plans to go to Ozark Technical Community College to pursue a career in dental hygiene.

According to Sarver, the winners were selected from a large number of submissions. The scholarship involved two parts, the essay and then a personal interview with the committee.

“You don’t realize the tough time that this committee had on selecting the recipients,” said Sarver. “We had so many good ones this year.”

Each recipient read their essays and received their certificate of scholarship at the monthly meeting of the Branson Veterans of America 913 at Golden Corral in Branson.

“The essays are great and you can see that the recipients have been raised with great values, love of country, love of God and I think that is the thing that this organization is all about,” said Sarver at the meeting. “I want to thank the parents for the way they have led their kids, it is pretty phenomenal.”

The William G. Groninger Scholarship was founded in 2014, to honor Lt. Col. William G. Groninger. Groninger was a 20 year veteran of the Air Force who flew more than 100 missions over North Korea and flew the SR-71 over Russia and Cuba during the Cold War. He spend many years working to insure veterans were honored and appreciated. He served as President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913 from 2006 to 2010, according to Sarver.

Groninger received the Bridge Builders Award for his work building education between veterans and students, according to Sarver. He passed away in October 2011. He was posthumously named Member of the Year for the chapter in 2012.

“The Board of Directors wanted to honor him and the William G. Groninger Scholarship program was introduced,” said Saver.

For more information visit www.bransonveteransofamerica913.com.

Tomorrow’s Branson Focuses on Jobs for Students, Young Adults

April 23, 2021

A new initiative has been created by the Taney County Partnership called Tomorrow’s Branson, which aims to place local employment opportunities for students and young adults in one convenient place. Tomorrow’s Branson features a directory of local job openings that is updated regularly with employment opportunities that are specifically geared toward high school and college students and young adults. The directory can be accessed by following the link on the Facebook page for Tomorrow’s Branson at facebook.com/tomorrowsbranson.

Options Pregnancy Held Grand Opening for New Clinic in Forsyth

April 16, 2021

Options Pregnancy Clinic invited the public to the Grand Opening of their newest clinic location in Forsyth on Saturday, April 17, 2021. The new clinic is located at 10726 State Highway 76, about a mile and a half south of Highway 160.

The Grand Opening was held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and included complimentary lunch and tours of the new facility. For more information, visit Options Pregnancy Clinic on Facebook @OptionsPregnancyClinic.

COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS CHALLENGES BIDEN ORDER THAT OPENS DORMS, SHOWERS TO OPPOSITE SEX

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent College of the Ozarks

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks filed suit in federal court today, April 15, against the Biden administration.

The lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex.  The directive accomplishes this by requiring entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not “discriminate” based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The administration’s rule change forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and vice-versa, or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. The reinterpretation of “sex” in the Fair Housing Act comes in light of President Joe Biden’s executive order titled, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” signed in January 2021.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom will represent the College.

“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls’ dorms to males based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of ‘sex,’” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake. “Women shouldn’t be forced to share private spaces—including showers and dorm rooms—with males, and religious schools shouldn’t be punished simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Government overreach by the Biden administration continues to victimize women, girls, and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped.”

College of the Ozarks holds to the Christian belief that biological sex is not changeable, and it operates its dorms accordingly. The College’s sincerely held religious beliefs influence their policies, including dormitory policies, which prohibit male students from living in female residence halls, and vice versa.

“Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch,” said College of the Ozarks President, Dr. Jerry C. Davis. “To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself. College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”

The lawsuit opposes the HUD directive and the executive order requiring it. The order, issued to all federal agencies, requires them to modify their policies on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The lawsuit explains that the HUD directive contradicts the historical judicial interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which confirms that “sex” means biological sex. The suit also argues that the directive exceeds the administration’s authority and violates the constitutionally protected freedom of College of the Ozarks and similar religious institutions to operate consistently with their religious beliefs.

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college in Point Lookout, Missouri. To achieve its vision, the college pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals that are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit The School of the Ozarks, Inc. d/b/a College of the Ozarks v. Biden in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division.

To read the lawsuit, visit https://adfmedialegalfiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/CollegeoftheOzarksComplaint.pdf

To view the Housing and Urban Development directive, visit https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUD_Memo_EO13988.pdf

To view the executive order, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-preventing-and-combating-discrimination-on-basis-of-gender-identity-or-sexual-orientation/

For additional information, contact the Public Relations Office at (417) 690-2212.