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What to do With Neighbors From Hell

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  Television and media company A&E has an online show known as Neighbor Wars. The videos are easily found on YouTube; even the boring ones get over 2 million views. Week after week, A&E shows videos of neighbors at their worst arguing over fence lines, parked cars, barking dogs, and lemonade stands, or seeking revenge over a conflict. My worst neighbor experience was having a group of boys play on and run across my new muddy yard when I was trying to get grass to grow 30 years ago. Thankfully, no video exists of me yelling, “Get off my lawn.” Other people have endured worse situations with neighbors. Just searching the websites of Springfield media outlets, you can find recent stories of arguments, shootings, and drug busts in Springfield involving neighbors. NEIGHBORS FROM HELL Bob Borzotta knows enough about dealing with difficult neighbors that he wrote a book titled, “Neighbors From Hell: Managing Today’s Brand of Conflict Close to Home.” A former news reporter, Borzotta ha

How to Love Your Neighbor in Five Steps

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Loving your neighbor may seem outdated or countercultural in a world that often emphasizes individualism and self-interest. However, genuinely caring for and showing kindness to those around us holds immense transformative power. Let’s consider how loving your neighbor goes against societal norms and why it remains crucial in fostering a more compassionate society. 1. Challenging Self-Centeredness In a culture that often prioritizes personal success and achievement, loving your neighbor requires a shift in focus from oneself to others. It challenges the prevailing notion that self-interest should be the driving force behind our actions. By actively seeking to understand and support our neighbors, we break free from the self-centered mindset and embrace a more empathetic perspective. 2. Overcoming Social Divisions Loving your neighbor transcends societal divisions such as race, religion, or socioeconomic status. It encourages us to see beyond these superficial differences and recognize

Controversy in Super Bowl LVI: What Does It Mean to Love Your Neighbor?

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  The longest Super Bowl game in history will also be remembered the most-watched program in U.S. television history. According to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics, Kansas City's 25-22 overtime victory over San Francisco on Sunday night averaged 123.7 million viewers across television and streaming platforms. For this Super Bowl, CBS sold 30-second television spots for $7 million (or $133,000 per second). That does not include production and talent costs, of course. You may look at your checking account and think $7 million is a lot. But advertisers consider it a way to reach a large audience for about half a penny per person! Plus, Super Bowl commercials have become a phenomenon in their own right, creating social media buzz and gaining views on YouTube. A 2020 survey revealed that 79 percent of viewers see the commercials as entertainment. After the 2019 Super Bowl, consumers spent 641 thousand hours watching Super Bowl ads on YouTube! The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events on th

Isn't Everyone My Neighbor?

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  When I teach about being an engaged neighbor, nothing I say generates more pushback than when I talk about connecting with the people behind the eight closets' front doors to my own. You know, the eight neighbors that adjoin your property. Why does this idea generate so much negative feedback? One is because we are always looking for a loophole. But there are other reasons. One of the earliest stories to ask, “Who is my neighbor?” is found in the Bible's book of Luke. In that story, an attorney was looking for a loophole! That was 2000 years ago.  Most of us, me included, still fall into this trap. We have tried to define the word “neighbor” so that it begins to lose some of its power.  We end up thinking to ourselves, "Wow, that's incredible. Everyone is my neighbor, and I'm doing a lot of good stuff, so I'm just neighboring all the time. Look at me. I’m a wonderful person." Oddly enough, the other thing we do is pick and choose neighbors. We pick the p

Why should I host a block party for my neighbors?

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  Hosting a block party for your neighbors can be a wonderful way to foster a sense of community and strengthen bonds among residents. Here are a few reasons why you should consider hosting a block party: 1. Building Relationships: A block or driveway party provides an opportunity for neighbors to come together, socialize, and get to know each other better. In our fast-paced lives, it is easy to overlook the people living right next door. Hosting a block party allows you to break the ice, initiate conversations, and build meaningful relationships with your neighbors.  2. Promoting Unity and Safety: When neighbors know and trust each other, you experience an increase in unity and cooperation among residents which leads to a stronger sense of security within the neighborhood. When people feel connected and look out for one another, it helps deter crime and promotes a safer living environment for everyone. 3. Strengthening Community Spirit: A block or driveway party brings people together

What Does It Mean to Love Your Neighbor in the New Year

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  Peter Lovenheim, author of “In the Neighborhood” was already a well-known journalist and author when a tragedy on his street in 2000 changed his focus. “ Down the street from me was a husband and wife both physicians, and the husband came home and shot and killed his wife and then took his own life,” said Lovenheim, who was a guest speaker in my Neighboring 101 class (March of 2023). Lovenheim said he did not know the family. And he soon discovered that no one on the street knew them beyond a superficial level. “I read the studies that showed that what I was experiencing on my street was widespread, but I didn't want to write about the phenomenon as a trend. I personally felt isolated and wanted to see if I could connect with my neighbors,” said Lovenheim. “At some point, I decided to do sleepovers with my neighbors Sleepovers helped him connect with his neighbors and their routines. They became invested in each other’s lives. “The idea came about because of memories gr

Get Struck By Cupid - A Seasonal Neighborhood Idea

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  "You've Been Struck By Cupid" is fun neighborhood activity that helps to spread love. Use or copy the available downloadable page  and fold cut it in half. Put together a package of treats and activities that express love. Place those items and some colored tissue paper in a bag  Be sure to the instructions from the downloadable page in the bag. Secretly deliver your cupid bag to a neighbor. If you receive a bag on your porch, please put the “We’ve Been Struck by Cupid” sign on your front door so you don’t become a target again. Feel free to share about the bag you received from Cupid with a post on the Becoming an Engaged Neighbor Facebook page to encourage others to participate this month. MORE INFORMATION Does this article make you interested in taking the  Engaged Neighbor pledge ? Five categories and 20 principles to guide you toward becoming an engaged neighbor. Sign the pledge online at  http://engagedneighbor.com . Contact the blog author,  David L. Burton at  d

Valentine’s Day Highland Cow Painting Class

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The University of Missouri Extension Council in Greene County (Springfield, Mo.) is offering a highland paint cow painting class. Join us to paint a Valentine-themed highland cow and learn more about agriculture and community development from our MU Extension specialists. This class will be held at the Springfield Botanical Garden, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, MO. 65807. All the materials for the class will be provided. The class is limited to 25 people. Pre-registration is required before Feb. 10. There is a class fee of $25. To register for the class, or for more details, contact the Greene County Extension office at 417 881-8909. Register online for our “Cow Painting Class Greene County.” University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians to improve lives, communities and economies by providing relevant, responsive and reliable educational solutions. MU Extension programs are open to all. More information on this topic is available on

Welcoming a New Neighbor: A Guide to Creating a Warm Community

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Moving to a new neighborhood can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. As a responsible and considerate member of the community, it is important to extend a warm welcome to new neighbors. By fostering a sense of belonging and creating a supportive environment, we can help them settle in comfortably. This essay aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to best welcome a new neighbor after their move. 1. Introduce Yourself The first step in welcoming a new neighbor is to introduce yourself. Approach them with a friendly smile and offer a warm greeting. Share your name, address, and any relevant information about the neighborhood. This simple gesture will help them feel more at ease and open to building connections. 2. Offer Assistance Moving can be a stressful and exhausting process. Extend a helping hand by offering assistance with unpacking, carrying heavy items, or providing information about local services such as grocery stores, schools, or healthcare facilities. This act of

ABCD Training for Neighborhood and Homeowner Leaders

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  Free Training for Neighborhood and HOA Leaders  We are excited to announce that Community Partnership of the Ozarks and University of Missouri Extension are hosting Jennifer Prophete from The Hopeful Neighborhood Project.  She will be teaching a workshop that equips neighborhood (and homeowner) association board members and leaders to develop their community through the perspective of asset-based community development (ABCD).  The training is set for 9 a.m. to 12 noon on March 16 at the Dream Center, 829 W Atlantic St., Springfield, Mo. The doors open at 8:30 a.m. and breakfast is going to be provided. If you are a leader in a neighborhood or homeowners association in or near Springfield, please join us for this free and educational event on March 16th.   To register, please email Dylan Millikin at dmillikin@cpozarks.org or call (417) 888-2020, Ext 128. MORE INFORMATION Does this article make you interested in taking the  Engaged Neighbor pledge ? Five categories and 20 principles to