WHAT OTHERS SAY: Healthy dose of optimism for Joplin

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | 12:47 p.m. CDT

School buildings are on the road to being rebuilt. Major retail stores are up and running strong.

And now, less than a year after the May 22 tornado, a destroyed hospital has opened the doors to a temporary building and is moving dirt at a furious pace for a new home.

We agree with Julie Blankenship, a registered nurse with Mercy Hospital Joplin, who was quoted in the Joplin Globe. Blankenship worked in a ditch the night of the tornado. Then she worked at Memorial Hall, later in a tent and then in a modular hospital.

"Now, we have this. It feels like a permanent hospital," she told our reporter.

"One thing's for certain: We keep getting better and better."

Indicators are running strong for Joplin's recovery.

Mercy Hospital Joplin gave the public a preview of its $100 million component hospital on April 11. On Sunday, patients were transferred there.

The temporary hospital is 150,000 square feet and has 55 private rooms that can quickly be converted into 110 semiprivate rooms. There's an emergency department, and, yes, babies can enter the world in this transition building.

It's another tremendous step forward for Joplin. Call it a real shot in the arm for a town that needs to hang on tight to every piece of good news it can get.

Joplin's psyche is a long way from being healed. But our confidence is coming back.

Mercy never considered leaving Joplin when the chips were down.

It's an attitude we hope is contagious.

Distributed by The Associated Press.

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John Schultz April 18, 2012 | 7:40 p.m.

I was in Joplin this past weekend for one of the kids' events and was amazed at the reconstruction that I saw. My fiancee used to live nearby and was able to point out some buildings that had obviously been destroyed and rebuilt on the commercial section (Business 71?) that we were on, but the tornado's track through town was still obvious.

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