Long-time friends Fowler, Watkins win state titles; lead Joplin to 2nd place finish

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin High School seniors Donovyn Fowler and Donovahn Watkins have known each other since before they put on the JHS uniform for the first time.

“I’ve known Donovahn since our elementary school days,” Fowler says, “We’ve played football together for a long time now, and switching over to track…we’ve also bonded doing that.”

The two finished their high school track and field careers together with a bang over the weekend – each claiming individual state titles at the MSHSAA State Championships in Jefferson City..

Fowler, an Oklahoma University commit, won individual championships in the triple jump and long jump, while Watkins claimed the state title in shot put.

“It was definitely an awesome experience,” Watkins says of winning state championships alongside Fowler, “I’ve known him for a long time. He’s an amazing athlete who is going to do great things in the future. It was awesome to watch.”

“It feels great,” Fowler adds, “We were actually hotel roommates, so we would have deep conversations about college and stuff like that. I’m really happy to call him my friend and I’m really happy to see him get first place and that state championship.”

Fowler picked up his first of two individual titles on Friday with his win in triple jump, posting a mark of 49 feet, 8.25 inches. He added another championship in long jump the following day, posting a winning mark of 25 feet, 3.25 inches – breaking his own school record and capping off a perfect season in both events.

His winning mark in the long jump came on his final attempt in a Joplin uniform, when he was sitting in second place with his perfect season on the line.

“It definitely felt like a far jump,” Fowler says, “I just had kind of…anger and aggression to get to first. I wanted to finish both (long and triple jump) seasons undefeated. I did it, and I’m really proud of that. It was just a different mindset when I was going down the runway.”

Watkins earned the shot put state championship on Saturday, with a best toss of 61 feet, 11.5 inches.

“It was definitely really cool. It took a lot of hard work to get to where I wanted to be,” Watkins says, “Throughout the season, I don’t think I did as good as I wanted to do. Throughout the spring I definitely got better, working technique and hitting the weight room. I just wanted to get better.”

He was motivated to get to the top of the podium after a 4th-place finish at state a year ago.

“I remember thinking about wanting to get to the top after last year. I definitely had a chip on my shoulder the whole time,” Watkins says, “I was talking to the guy who got first place last year, and I told him that he drove me to be better this time. I told him he was the reason I threw it as far as I did. I wasn’t going to be beat that day.”

Watkins, who is committed to play football at Coffeyville CC in southeast Kansas, was more than a foot better than the rest of the field Saturday – with his best toss coming on his third attempt.

“I definitely could feel adrenaline going and feel some anger come out,” Watkins says of his winning throw, “I definitely flexed on them and stared them down after I threw it,” he adds with a laugh, “I just love to compete, so it was just awesome.”

Fowler and Watkins led the Joplin boys to a 2nd place finish at state in their final act as Joplin teammates – the Eagles’ best finish as a team in more than 40 years.

“It definitely feels great. It’s kind of sad, because you spend all this time getting to know all of these people – and as soon as you hit your peak, everybody has to go their separate ways,” Fowler finishes, “It was really just a special moment for all of us, seeing all the hard work that we’ve put in over the season really pay off at state.”


‘Chamber Blue’ helps some Pittsburg employees save money

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce today collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce executives of Kansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As a joint effort, these parties created the Chamber Blue of Kansas.

The new health plan will allow 38 local chambers and their member businesses to pool their employees.

Blake Benson, President of Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce stated:

“At a time when unemployment is at a historically low figure here in Pittsburg, it’s more important than ever that we help our business to attract new employees especially as people move to Pittsburg from other parts of the country and other parts of the region.”

This change will allow these employees to access health insurance savings that are usually found with large group medical coverage.


Webb City residents hit the Farmers Market

WEBB CITY, Mo. – Residents today headed to Webb City’s farmers market to enjoy the fresh food & produce.

Because it is a producer-only market, all produce, baked goods, herbs, jams and jellies, and meats come straight from the source.

Officials say kids ages 1-18 are able to enjoy Summer Kids Meals starting June 2nd.

Organizers say the market’s mission is to sustain, nourish, and enhance the community while providing a venue for the success of our local producers and farmers.

To find out more, click here.

T-storms bringing accumulating rain tonight & Wednesday

Nick – With our storm system moving through the region and finally coming to life with increasing t-storm chances, we’ll need to keep an eye on rain amounts between this evening and Wednesday night.

Ahead of these increasing rain chances, much of the area has been put under flood watches that will last at least through Wednesday morning.

With these clusters of t-storms this evening and additional rain chances into Wednesday morning (even additional scattered t-storms through Wednesday afternoon), a good number of us will see expected rain amounts range between 1 and 3 inches.

Be sure that you stay tuned either on the air, online or with our mobile apps so you’ll have the latest forecast from us and be able to track the storms along with us.

Family-owned farms in the 4-States are feeling the effects of rising prices

NEOSHO, Mo – Local family farms say they are feeling the effects of higher fuel prices.

According to AAA, the national average for diesel fuel is up two dollars and thirty cents from last year.

Furthermore, the Farmers Bureau says that cattle feed is up 22 percent from last year as well.

Robin Mauller, Owner of Mauller Family Farm stated “everything been higher, diesel and gasoline especially. We take a lot of that stuff here for the tractors and the mower, we have a great big mower and the feed is more for our chickens and our turkeys.”

Average gas prices per gallon, unleaded regular:
National: $4.62
Joplin metro: $4.03
Crawford Co, KS: $4.14
Ottawa Co, OK: $4.13
Benton Co, AR: $4.08

Average diesel prices per gallon:
National: $5.52
MO: $5.10
KS: $5.07
OK: $5.05
AR: $5.17

Check out KOAM at 6:00 p.m. to hear more from local farmers.


Watching a severe threat for this evening

Our current storm system is still poised to bring at least a low severe threat for this evening and lasting until early Wednesday morning. Early this evening, we have seen scattered strong to severe t-storms develop around the Wichita area with them wanting to push into our western counties within the early evening hours. While we’ll deal with the first batch of t-storms this evening, we’ll see additional t-storms work in late tonight and into the early morning hours Wednesday. Our prime time for any severe weather will be between 5 this evening and 3 AM on our Wednesday. The main threats we’ll have to contend with will be large hail, high wind gusts and heavy rainfall. While the tornado threat is staying low, it’s still a threat that we’ll keep a close eye on through the evening hours.