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Three sign at Webb City High School

WATCH: Three Webb City senior student-athletes sign Wednesday afternoon to continue their careers in college.

Danecca Heffren and Rachael Drum sign to play tennis at Evangel University, while Eli Goddard will join the baseball program at Missouri Southern.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Goddard says of signing, “I’ve known I wanted to play college baseball for a while. Having the opportunity to do that is really special, and I’m grateful.”

“It’s just a huge accomplishment,” Drum says of getting to continue her career in college, “I’ve only been playing tennis for about two years. I’ve worked really hard to be able to do this.”

“That was a part of the reason why I chose Evangel,” Heffren says of staying close to her hometown, “It’s far enough from home, but also close enough where I could come home when I want to.”

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Latest updated blog – Chilly Thursday before we warm up again – Nick

Good Wednesday evening, everyone. As we expected, we did turn quite a bit cooler for today behind the cold front that rolled on through yesterday. While it was nice to see early afternoon highs in the upper 60s at Joplin Regional yesterday, we dropped back into the lower 40s before we topped out in the middle 50s this afternoon.

After our chilly afternoon, we’re looking at a cold night ahead of us. In fact, we’ll have freeze warnings in place for much of our Thursday morning across southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, northeast Oklahoma and Linn, Bourbon, Crawford and Cherokee counties in southeast Kansas.

The freeze warnings are in place because of our weather setup that we have for tonight and heading into Thursday. The surface setup below shows our last cold front working along the East Coast and down into the Gulf of Mexico. Behind that, we have an area of high pressure working across the Southern Plains. As it works overhead, that will keep skies mostly clear and our breeze light overnight.

Looking at the upper-level setup, we find ourselves on the cooler side of the jet as an upper-level low works over the Great Lakes. In addition to this leading into a cold Thursday morning, this will keep us chilly once again for Thursday before the upper-level ridge out west starts to slide toward us for the weekend.

As for the overnight hours and Thursday morning, it doesn’t matter if you find yourself under a freeze warning or not. Everyone will drop back into the upper 20s with a light north breeze at 5-10 mph under mostly clear skies.

With the surface high overhead, we’ll hold on to mostly sunny skies and a light northerly breeze across much of the area. The same conditions that will lead us to a cold start for Thursday morning will lead to afternoon highs climbing back mainly into the middle 50s.

Although the high pressure will move on as we work through Thursday night and Friday morning, we’ll still have a light breeze and mostly clear skies in place. While we don’t have any frost advisories or freeze warnings out for Friday morning, it will be another cold start with lows dropping back into the lower to middle 30s.

After another cold start, the southerly wind will return on the backside of the high as skies stay mostly sunny once again. Combine that with the main jet stream returning overhead, that will allow mild temperatures to return as highs are expected to top out in the lower to middle 60s.

Looking at the jet setup on Friday below, you can see how the jet stream will stretch out over us and maintain its positioning for Saturday. Even with partly sunny skies for Saturday, we’ll start to see highs stay mild in the middle 60s across the region. We’ll also keep an eye on a weak upper-low that will cut across the southern side of the jet stream in the Desert Southwest.

Even though that wave will undercut the ridge that will really build in on Easter Sunday, we’ll hold on to partly sunny skies and see a slight chance for a few showers during the afternoon hours. Otherwise, the jet to our north signifies that we’ll have a mild Easter Sunday lined up for us.

A detailed breakdown of our Easter Sunday is still looking pretty good. Once again, a 20% chance for rain with that wave undercutting the ridge will lead to a few showers for a few spots during the afternoon. Otherwise, we’ll plan on partly sunny skies throughout the day. With a light southwest breeze in the morning, we’ll have lows starting out around 50. Even with the wind kicking into gear at 10-20 mph during the afternoon, we’ll be in the middle 60s by the noon hour with afternoon highs topping out around 70 across the area.

Once we get past Easter Sunday, we’ll watch for an upper-level low coming out of the Pacific Northwest to start digging across the western parts of the country. Along that resulting southwest flow of the jet stream over us and some returning moisture, we’ll watch for a slight chance for some isolated t-storms for Monday and Tuesday. With the main jet still to our north, this will result in highs in the middle 70s on Monday and highs pushing to 80° on Tuesday.

Sticking with Doug’s pattern, we’ll keep a close eye on the upper-low out west wanting to work into the Central Plains for Wednesday and Thursday. Even though highs want to stay mild to warm for Wednesday and Thursday of next week, this wave wants to bring in a better chance for scattered t-storms across the region. We’ll also keep an eye out for a possible severe threat for both Wednesday and Thursday.

If you’re curious as to how we look for the rest of April, Doug has you covered with his long range forecast down below.

Have a good night and a great Thursday!

Nick

April 8th-April 10th: We’ll stick with mild temperatures for Thursday and into the weekend. After dealing with t-storms and a severe threat for Thursday, we’ll stay dry for Friday and Saturday.

April 11th-April 17th: We’re looking at another kind of active week with slight t-storm chances Sunday, rain & t-storms for Monday, t-storms again on Wednesday, showers on Thursday, rain chances on Friday and slight rain chances on Saturday. We’ll be mild to start the week before a brief cool down for Tuesday. After a mild Wednesday, we’ll stay rather cool for the rest of the week.

April 18th-April 24th: With the exception of some t-storm chances on Tuesday, we’re looking at mainly a quiet week. We’re mild to start the week before we warm back up for Thursday and to start the weekend out.

April 25th-May 1st: Several waves will be on the way for this week. We’ll watch for t-storms and a severe threat for our Sunday. After t-storm chances for Monday and Tuesday, we’ll watch for a severe threat with our t-storm chances on Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll dry out for Friday and Saturday before we see another wave with a possible severe threat by that following Sunday, May 2nd. Sunday will be warm before we settle for a mild stretch from Monday through Friday. We’ll turn warm again on Saturday.

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Former Webb City standout Davidson preps for shot at NFL

WEBB CITY, Mo. – The NFL Draft is less than a month away.

(Full interview below story)

Former Webb City High School standout Zach Davidson is hoping to hear his name called, and get his shot in the league next month.

Davidson is a tight and end punter at Central Missouri. He was an All-American at both positions in 2019. As a tight end for the Mules that season, he racked up 15 touchdowns on just 40 receptions, averaging 22.35 yards-per-catch. He earned five All-American Awards for his big year.

The former Cardinal impressed at his pro day last week.

His performance at his pro day has caused the former Cardinal to gain more and more interest from NFL teams as the draft approaches.

Davidson is confident that he’s ready for the pro’s – but he also says he’s not even close to his ceiling as a football player with the draft just a month away.

“I feel like the sky is the literal limit for me. I’ve only played tight end for a season and a half,” Davidson says, “I think the depth of the game that I’ll be exposed to will do numbers for my overall play style and what I’ll be able to do on the field and for an organization. I am definitely very confident that once I get there I’ll be able to just expand my game to an all-time high and learn from some of the best to ever do it…I’m just really waiting on my shot.”

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Grace doe identified but McDonald County investigators far from done

 

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. – Thanks advanced DNA testing and a lot of police work, investigators have identified the body of a murder and rape victim who was found in rural McDonald County back in December of 1990.

Investigators had been referring to her as “grace” because they thought only through the grace of God would they figure out who she was.

But that day has come and investigators know the woman’s name is Shawna Garber.

The DNA also found Shawna’s half sister Danielle who aided law enforcement in their investigation. Danielle had been looking for her half sister for 28 years and was taken aback by the discovery.

“”It’s overwhelming (for her). I’m assuming there’s some type of relief. She found her, and unfortunately not a good result,”  said Lt. Michael Hall with the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Hall says the team at the McDonald county sheriff’s office is relieved to have part of the puzzle solved, but says their work on this murder investigation is far from over.

“(We’re) trying to backtrack on who Shawna was. Foster parents, we’re trying to get information on who she lived with in Kansas. What school she went to,” said Lt. Hall.

Lt. Hall also says investigators are excited to move the investigation into its next phase and don’t plan on slowing down.

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Cam Martin commits to KU basketball

JOPLIN, Mo. – Bill Self sealed the deal in getting Cam Martin to Lawrence.

“We had a great conversation Monday night,” Martin says of talking to coach Self, “He talked with me, and then he talked with my family. We set up a zoom call for Tuesday, and the rest is history.”

The 3X All-American will play his final college season for Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.

“I’m happy with the role we talked about,” Martin says, “Nothing is set in stone. I still have to go there this summer and I have to get better.”

Martin finished his Missouri Southern career with more than 2,000 points in just three seasons. He’s one of only five active players in the nation to have more than 2,000 career points and 800 career rebounds.

His senior year he posted 25 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while also dishing out a team-high 76 assists.

He’ll now move on to play for one of the best coaches in the country – in one of the best venues in the country.

“I’ve never been to Allen Fieldhouse,” Martin adds, “I’ve heard great things. Everybody I’ve talked to says it’s one of the best places to play, if not the best. I’ve seen some YouTube videos people are sending me of the fans and stuff, but I’m super excited to be able to experience that.”

Missouri Southern head coach Jeff Boschee is a former Jayhawk himself.

Boschee played at KU from 1998-2002, and is the Jayhawks’ all-time three-point leader.

“One of the questions I asked was do you think I’m good enough?” Martin says of his conversations with Boschee, “I knew I was good enough in my mind, but I wanted to hear his side of it. He told me he thought I was. He was very excited for me, and he thought it would be a good situation for me.”

Martin knows it’s a jump from the MIAA to the Big 12.

But he’s ready to put in the work – with the idea of continuing his basketball career after college.

“There’s been a lot of great Kansas basketball players play for that program,” Martin says, “I think if I go there and do the things I’m capable of doing, then my future can be very bright.”

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Oklahoma professor arrested after allegedly hiding camera in girl's bedroom

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has been arrested on more than a dozen counts.

Officials with the Edmond Police Department were alerted after the mother of the victim found a hidden camera in her 14-year-old daughter’s room.

Investigators arrested Allan Wiechmann after serving a search warrant at his home.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Wiechmann admitted to placing the camera in the victim’s bedroom.

He told authorities that when they discovered his internet searches, they might find them “odd or disturbing.”

“He went on to explain he searches for pornography based on his fantasies. I asked him what [that] entailed and he stated he likes to watch voyeurism scenarios of women in dressing rooms or bedrooms,” the affidavit stated.

Wiechmann was arrested on 20 counts of indecent or lewd acts with a child under 16.

The University of Oklahoma released the following statement after Wiechmann’s arrest:

“In light of recent information, Mr. Wiechmann was immediately placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. OU is cooperating with law enforcement officials and can confirm that in his role at OU Health Sciences Center, Mr. Wiechmann had no contact with minors or patients as part of his work at the university. Due to the confidential nature of this personnel issue, this is the extent of the university’s comment at this time.”

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Braum’s releases 4 new sundaes, 6 new ice cream flavors

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, Braum’s may have just what you are craving.

Braum’s announced that it is rolling out four new fancy sundaes and six new ice cream flavors this spring and summer.

The new sundaes and four of the new flavors include Sticky Bun, Cocoa Banana, White Chocolate Strawberry Tart, and French Chocolate Macaroon.

“This year, we cannot wait for everyone to taste our new fancy sundaes and ice cream flavors,” said Drew Braum, President, and CEO. “They are all unique and delicious.”

The Sticky Bun Sundae has the perfect hint of cinnamon, topped with smooth, hot caramel and pecans on top of two white Bundt cakes.

The Cocoa Banana ice cream covered in hot fudge and slices of banana on top of two chocolate Bundt cakes.

Then there’s two scoops of White Chocolate Strawberry Tart filled with pound cake and more strawberries, all placed on two white Bundt Cakes.

The French Chocolate Macaroon Sundae has a marshmallow atop Braum’s freshly baked macaroon cookies.

Braum’s also added two additional ice cream flavors served on cones, Pistachio Almond Chocolate Chip and Fried Caramel Toffee Pie.

Officials say the new sundaes and ice cream flavors are only available through the end of this summer.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations see small rise in numbers

Joplin’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers fluctuated, a rise at Joplin hospitals, comprising of Freeman, Mercy, and Landmark. As of Tuesday, March 30, there is a 15-hospitalization occupancy of COVID-19 patients in Joplin’s hospitals. This is two more than the occupancy number from two weeks ago on Tuesday, March 16.  

This number reflects the number of patients currently being treated with COVID-19 at the three previously mentioned hospitals. The 15-hospital occupancy includes residents outside Joplin city limits. As of March 30, there are five Joplin residents hospitalized due to COVID-19. This is three more than the number from Tuesday, March 16

According to the Joplin COVID-19 Dashboard, last updated Tuesday, March 30 at 10 p.m., there have been a total of 5,961 cases of the Coronavirus in the city. Joplin has 23 active cases, a decrease of eight from 31 cases two weeks ago. There are 5,809 inactive cases in the city and 129 deaths, which is two additional deaths since two weeks ago. There have been 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the last day, 22 cases in the last seven days, and 47 cases in the last 14 days.  

The dashboard’s graph shows the low number of cases in Joplin is staying fairly consistent from over the past month, as compared to months previous to mid-February. Residents in the age group 20 to 29 continue to have the highest number of Coronavirus cases in Joplin, with 1,269 cases—11 more cases than last week. Those in the age group 30 to 39 are second-highest, with 875 cases—seven more than last week. And those under 20 are close behind, with 840 cases—five more than last week

The city is still in Phase 2—Step 4 of the Joplin Plan for Response and Recovery. Joplin opened vaccine eligibility to Phase 1B—Tier 3 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution mid-March. This means those within this tier are eligible for their vaccine. This includes those deemed “Critical Infrastructure,” such as individuals in education, childcare, the communications sector, government, and various other sectors.  

The city has also opened vaccine eligibility to Phase 2, which includes those deemed “Equity and Response Recovery.” This includes individuals in libraries, the chemical sector, food and agriculture sector, construction sector, higher education, and several other sectors. Phase 3, which encompasses the remainder of the population, opens for vaccine eligibility April 9. 

In regard to vaccine clinics, the city is continuing to offer clinics to its residents. Check the City of Joplin’s website for information on future vaccine clinics. 

For more information regarding Missouri’s vaccination plan, visit their COVID-19 website, which also provides a map of current and future vaccinators within the state.