Entries in Missouri (3)


Bloody Body Suspensions Draw Outrage in Missouri Neighborhood

Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock (file photo)(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- Shane Shields can't tell you exactly why, but he gets a rush out of being pierced through the skin with thick hooks and hanging by ropes in the air -- a fringe art known as body suspension.

The 29-year-old "body modification artist" runs a licensed tattoo facility as a day job, and on weekends, he joins other body suspension enthusiasts in a Springfield, Mo., backyard.

But one neighbor insists that Shields and his fellow body artists are traumatizing his children and has pledged to ban the practice so young onlookers don't have to hear the screams and see bodies drenched in blood.

Aaron King, whose North Main Avenue backyard overlooks the meetings, says that his children should not have to be unwittingly exposed to the practice.  He isn't opposed to others doing it -- he just thinks his two children should not have to witness it, especially his 9-year-old daughter.

"She saw blood dripping from a shoulder blade area and what she said looked like holes," King told ABC News affiliate KSPR-TV in Springfield.  "I don't know why their right to do this should extend to public open space and force me to keep my children inside."

The Springfield group, known as the Anti Gravity Relaxation Organization (AGRO), is one of four other clubs in other cities across the country.  AGRO has used two trees in a private yard to build a pulley system to hang practitioners upside down with hooks pierced through their knees.  Others zoom across a zip line with hooks under the skin between their shoulder blades.

In Missouri, there are no city or state laws against the practice.  King has contacted his city counselors and several state agencies with his complaint.  City council member Nick Ibarra said he agrees with King and told the Springfield News-Leader that he has asked the city's legal department to draft an ordinance that addresses body suspension.

Meanwhile, one child development expert said she stands firmly behind King.

"It's the equivalent of taking a kid to an R-rated movie because of the violence," said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas pediatrician and author of several books on child behavior.  "But you don't have a choice when it's happening in your backyard."

Young children might experience nightmares or anxiety after witnessing body suspension, according to Brown.

"Kids have a little bit of trouble understanding this type of thing -- it's violent and painful and someone is going through something uncomfortable," she said.  "The visual leaves a lasting image in their memory and I don't blame the parent for being disturbed."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Officials Stop Sales of Cicada Ice Cream in Missouri

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, Mo.) -- Cicadas are out again this summer across Missouri, so why not try to beat the heat and eat a bowl of cicada-flavored ice cream?

That was the special treat being offered at Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri when the shop opened for business about a week ago.

The owners prepared the cicada frozen snack by collecting the insects, removing their wings, boiling the bugs and slathering them in brown sugar and milk chocolate.  The ice cream base consisted of brown sugar and butter flavor.

Customers loved the cicada-flavored frozen desert so much that Sparky's quickly ran out of it.

That's just as well for Columbia public health officials, who told the store to quit selling the snack because of health concerns.  That's also just as well for Sparky's, since this species of cicada only shows up every 17 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Joplin, Missouri: Hospital Deemed Unsafe After Tornado, All Patients Evacuated

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- The Joplin, Missouri, tornado caused such severe damage to St. John's Regional Medical Center that all patients had to be evacuated and sent to other hospitals in the region. Hospital officials say 183 patients were evacuated. At least five others died. An unidentified visitor was also killed.

The winds were so powerful that items from the hospital, like medications and medical records, were found in neighboring counties.

Cora Scott, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said officials decided the hospital was unsafe after the tornado barreled through. Many of the patients, she said, were taken to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Mo., about 75 miles away. Both hospitals are part of a multi-state health system.

Many of those injured in Joplin were taken to a field hospital set up in the city's Memorial Hall.

Medical personnel had to decide on the best places to send hospital patients after the tornado hit. They were in the hospital for all sorts of different conditions before the storm struck.

Hospital staff loaded patients on pickup trucks and did whatever they could to get them to safety. In just 90 minutes, the hospital was evacuated.

Right now, those same hospital personnel are reporting to the field hospital for work, Scott said.

Scott also said there are plenty of medical supplies on hand in Springfield, and the entire health system is working together to make sure all the hospitals get what they need quickly.

Sheila Harrington was in the hospital when the storm hit.

"There was no light. There were little flashlights," she said. "We just heard [people] screaming, looking for loved ones."

Rod Pace was hanging on to a door in another part of the hospital, trying to keep it closed.

"It felt like that building was breathing," he said. "We moved in and out with the door."

Pace said it was a tragedy to lose the hospital.

"The hospital's been in the community a long time," he said. "It's meant a lot to the community."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio