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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Change is encouraged by community leaders

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Janie Pfefferkorn with Mission Missouri explains the programs available.
NEW MADRID - "Let us continue to do constructive things," prayed the Rev. L.L. Williams as the citizens and community leaders gathered for a meeting of Community Operation Restart and the New Madrid-New Madrid County Concerned Citizens.

The groups, explained organizer Theodis Maltbia, are designed to serve area communities. "We are trying to create changes in New Madrid County," added Maltbia, noting he has received the support of not only those from New Madrid but also North Lilbourn, Parma, Howardville and other communities.

During Tuesday evening's meeting, Maltbia announced that a faith-based youth work camp is planned for the summer. Some 60 young people will do minor repairs and painting at homes of the elderly and disabled. He requested that those with suggested work sites contact him and he will determine if the residences meet the workers' criteria.

Also Maltbia, who is serving as the executive director of the groups, announced the paperwork for the federal "Weed and Seed" program is complete and will be submitted. The group has received several letters in support of their efforts, including one from Eighth District Representative JoAnn Emerson, he said.

"There is no guarantee we will get it, we will just put in the Lord's hands and go from there," said Maltbia.

According to Maltbia, work has begun to seek a grant to fund efforts to fight juvenile obesity as well as a community block grant in conjunction with the city of New Madrid to renovate or tear down dilapidated buildings using local workers.

In addition to seeking funding, Maltbia emphasized the groups are reaching out to other existing programs in the area. Working with the Career Center in Sikeston, the groups already acquired additional workers.

Included in those addressing the capacity crowd at the O'Bannon Community Center in New Madrid was Debra Mitchell-Braxton, director of the Trio/

Upward Bound program through Southeast Missouri State University. Braxton explained the program's efforts are to identify qualified low-income or potential first-generation college students and encourage them through various academic programs to achieve their college degrees.

Janie Pfefferkorn and Wayne White with Mission Missouri spoke of the offerings of the Sikeston-based initiative ranging from job readiness to drug prevention and recovery programs.

White, emphasizing the destructiveness of drugs on communities, added: "What we bring to the table is that we want to help. Alcohol and drugs are killing more people than anything else. ...Crack cocaine is a weapon of mass destruction. Marijuana is a weapon of mass destruction. We can bring help in recovery."

Also working with Community Operation Restart will be the youth from the juvenile facility located just outside of New Madrid. The young men will be involved in community cleanup, said Curtis Bond.

New Madrid County Presiding Commissioner Clyde Hawes and New Madrid Mayor Donnie Brown spoke briefly to the group offering their support.

Charles McCoy with MS Energy, a company proposing to build a cold molecular fission plant in New Madrid, announced the company's efforts to develop the new technology has received a boost. Earlier this week funding to check out the key processes of the plant was assured MS Energy.

Developers see the plant as having not only potential to generate electricity but also serve as a source for hydrogen, which automotive companies are considering as an alternate fuel source for automobiles.

"How do we give back to a community? One of the ways we are looking at is by providing good paying, safe jobs," said McCoy.

Summing up the efforts of those involved, Maltbia noted, "This is not about money, this about community and helping ourselves."