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Cityscape: Blood is thicker than the water cooler

Government and development coverage and analysis

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SPD chief: No one shot in February

Nobody was shot in the city of Springfield in February.

That was the good news Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams shared with Springfield City Council at its March 20 meeting.

The bad news: In the first two weeks of March, SPD responded to 12 shots-fired calls. Five people were shot, three of them in a single weekend.

Williams has been consistent in his message that guns are a problem in the city. Shots-fired calls were at an all-time high in 2022 at 356, with 15 people killed and 73 injured by gunfire.

In 2022, police seized 229 illegal guns. Williams reminds gun owners to store and handle their weapons safely and responsibly.

Since gun ownership is a constitutional right, the city is limited in how it can respond to the problem. However, council has made reducing gun violence a top legislative priority and is asking Jefferson City for tools to combat it.

I heard … 

“Whether you’re dealing with crime, whether you’re dealing with public safety, whether you’re dealing with economic development, whether you’re dealing with good schools, whether you’re dealing with safe streets, whether you’re dealing with clean streets, the one common denominator that you need is strong neighborhoods. If you don’t have strong neighborhoods, we as a city are in trouble.”

Springfield City Councilmember Craig Hosmer, speaking on the importance of neighborhood action during a town hall meeting March 16 (read more on page 29)

Blood is thicker than the water cooler

Is your workplace like one big, happy family?

Think before you answer that.

We tend to regard familial relationships as permanent ones – yet the median number of years workers stay with an employer is 4.1, according to 2022 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s a good idea for workers to keep an eye on other opportunities – ones that can provide better pay, benefits or work-life balance. Work, at its best, lets us challenge ourselves and enjoy the company of people who share our goals, but it’s also the place we go to support our life away from the office. When that support falls short, we serve everyone better if we move along to the next opportunity.

To better understand the difference between work and family, try telling your mom at Easter dinner that you’d like to consider other maternal options.

Family is complicated. Work shouldn’t be.

It would be awful to picture ourselves yoked permanently to a work position that is wrong for us, so that every day is misery, but we have to show up because “family” is counting on us.

The fact is, letting go of work relationships is normal and expected – we should celebrate those colleagues who move on to find work that better suits them. Letting go of family is a tragedy, and most do so only as a last resort.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word family emerged in the early 15th century to mean servants of a household, from the Latin “famulus,” meaning servant or even slave. For family, we might be willing to show up for free, but we’d be foolish to do so at the office.

Happiness on the job is transactional. Axios reports on the specific job aspects that contribute to well-being, and 33% of workers say fair pay tops the list. Speaking as the mom of both a teen and a tween, I can attest that rewards may not be immediate where family is concerned.

Last week I talked to Sara Choate, managing director of KPM Human Capital Solutions.

“It is not my favorite language to use,” Choate said when I asked her about the workplace-as-family metaphor. “It can be very dangerous and unhealthy language. It conveys a sense of unconditional love and loyalty that most likely doesn’t exist.”

In a workplace, sometimes the best situation for all parties involved is for someone not to be there any longer, Choate said.

“My goal is always for somebody to leave as proud alumni of our organization,” she said. “Ultimately, you want them to think fondly of their experience with you.”

Alumni. It’s a word that refers to graduates of an alma mater … which itself comes from the Latin and means nourishing mother.

Like I said, family is complicated. Thank goodness for the comparative simplicity of work.

Cleanup on aisle 13

Heather Mosley | SBJ

State cleanup crews pick up litter on Missouri Route 13 on March 14, one week after Greene County resident Jeanie Sullivan asked Springfield City Council to do something about trash blowing out of trucks heading to the city’s landfill.

Missouri Department of Transportation Communications Manager Jennifer Williams said crews are out regularly to clean up litter along state routes. Kristen Milam, communication coordinator for the city, noted the city is targeting portions of Kansas Expressway for cleanup on April 15 through the Clean Green Springfield initiative, with more than 100 Drury University students expected to participate. More volunteers are sought for the citywide cleanup set for April and May. Information is available at

Contact Karen Craigo
Phone: 417-340-3224


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