Pittsburg 12U advances to Midwest Region Tournament in Indianapolis

PITTSBURG, Ks. – The Pittsburg 12u team won the state tournament last weekend, topping Baxter Springs 6-0 in the championship game. Now, they’ll be competing in the regional tournament in Indianapolis.

“This is the most incredible group of 12 year old boys I’ve every been around,” says Pittsburg head coach Kevin Deao. “They don’t care who gets the glory. They’re the most selfless kids in the world. They just want to go out and play baseball and be a team and play for each other. They all just want to win and do what it takes to win.”

Pittsburg’s strong pitching helped propel the team to the state title, and they are expecting it to continue to be a key factor in their success moving forward.

“Our pitching has been fantastic this year,” Deao says. “We really challenge the kids in the winter, working on pitching, throwing bull pens, to throw strikes. I checked today and I think we threw 70 percent strikes in the state tournament. That’s huge. When you’re not giving up free passes and you make the other team beat you, it’s really hard to get beat.”

Pittsburg will look to Landen Proffitt and Gabe Brown to set the tone on the mound.

“Those two guys go out and throw a lot of strikes and compete,” Deao says. “They’re going to be our two guys that are probably going to start our first two games up there in Indianapolis. I think they’re going to give us a really good shot to go out there and win some baseball games.”

It’s the second straight year that a Pittsburg little league team is representing Kansas at the regional tournament.  Pittsburg is one of eight teams competing to earn a spot in the Little League World Series.

“It’s such a cool opportunity to go play teams from Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota,” Deao says. “We’re representing Pittsburg on the front of our jerseys. It’s cool to be up there playing on the big stage. Most people don’t know where Pittsburg, Kansas is or that there’s anything other than Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s cool to bring that to the spotlight.”

The team has spent the last few days fundraising for the trip.

“We have had the most incredible support from our community,” Deao says. “I think we’ve raised somewhere around $15,o00 in three days and it’s all because these boys have gone out and done the work. They’re talking to influential people in Pittsburg and business owners. The support has been so overwhelming. Hopefully we make a long run in Indianapolis. It’s such a cool experience for these boys and to see the support that Pittsburg has given them.”

Pittsburg heads out on Wednesday and will play Iowa in their first game on Friday at 4pm.

KCU-Joplin holds White Coating Ceremony for future doctors

JOPLIN, Mo. — Students were taking some of their first steps to becoming the next generation of doctors.

Kansas City University – Joplin held its white coating ceremony at Joplin High School Today.

The ceremony is meant to symbolize the beginning of the students journey to become physicians.

Around 330 students received their white coats from KCU faculty and guest doctors.

Half made up the class of 2026, the other class of 2025, who had their white coating ceremony canceled twice over the course of the pandemic.

“It is very exciting because we can actually help them take that first major step to medical school, once they got admitted. This and graduation are the two things that we truly live for at the medical school,” says Ken Heiles, KCU-Joplin Campus Dean.

“I’m so, so grateful that my friends and family get to be here to see this huge milestone. This represents so much to all of us, it’s a huge culmination of so much, many years of education and many more to come, and so excited.” says Madison Nagel, KCU-Joplin Class of 2026.

The white coating ceremony tradition is still relatively new.

It was started back in 1993 by a physician at the University of Columbia.

Big names travel to Fort Scott for Special Olympics Kansas

FORT SCOTT, Ks. — Golfers were up nice and early this morning to make a difference.

Golfers from 5 states tee’d off in Fort Scott for the fifth annual Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office Golf Scramble.

All the money raised will be going towards Special Olympics Kansas, specificially helping 11 counties in Southeast Kansas.

Over 240 people competed today, including some big names.

Former Atlanta Braves centerfielder Otis Nixon, Tyrone “Hollywood” Brown and Les “Peewee” Harrison from the Harlem Globetrotters, and progolfer and trick shot champion Rocky Shipes.

“With the kind of hospitality that they were showing us, we knew. When you’ve done this as long as I have, I knew that this was going to be the kind of event that people do it the right way, and that’s a pleasure for me for a change. It’s just a no-brainer to be involved with Special Olympics, it’s one of my favorite,” says Rocky Shipes, Golf Entertainer.

“It’s an unbelieveable feeling to have everybody come out. People think we can do this in a week, Ben and I do this, it’s 10/11 months out of the year we’re getting ready for this thing,” says Steve Anthony, Tournament Organizer.

According to Anthony, the first four scrambles have helped raise over $80,000 for Special Olympics Kansas.

Nevada Farmers Market looking to expand

NEVADA, Mo. — The people of Nevada were using food to help the community.

The Salsa Festival made its return to the Nevada Farmers Market.

It’s one of the Market’s annual events. Throughout the day people competed to see who had the best mild and spicy salsa.

It’s been going on for roughly five years, and in the past the event has helped the Market find a permanent home at the Centennial Pavillion.

“This building we Co-Oped with the fair board, and so they paid for part of the building and we paid for part of the building, so it worked as a benefit for both, and it’s a great asset for the community to use as well for activities,” Joann Cash, Farmers Market Board.

Funds raised from the Salsa Festival this year will be going towards operations at the Nevada Farmers Market.

The board is hoping to expand and include a second canopy to allow more vendors at the Market.

BREAKING: Bomb threat note cause of casino evacuation

Indigo Sky Casino And Resort Sign
A nighttime photo of the Indigo Sky Casino and Resort sign, located at the entrance to the gaming facility in northeast Oklahoma. Indigo Sky Casino and Resort is owned and operated by the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. — A bomb threat at Indigo Sky Casino and Resort prompts casino managers and local law enforcement to evacuate the gaming facility and adjoining hotel.

Melanie Heskett, General Manager of Indigo Sky Casino and Resort said a note was found in one of the casino’s bathrooms.

“The note seemed to be pretty threatening and specific, stating there was indeed a bomb located on the property somewhere, though it did not say where that location was,” said Heskett.

Heskett couldn’t say who found the note, but after it was discovered around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30, the evacuation process began.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department, along with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad (OHP), Tulsa Police Department bomb dogs and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) all responded to Indigo Sky.

Heskett said bomb-sniffing dogs from the Tulsa Police Department and the OHP Bomb Squad searched the entire facility for several hours, both inside and out, but did not find any explosive device(s).

As a precaution, Indigo Sky’s sister gaming facility, Outpost Casino was also evacuated and searched for explosives.

No explosive device was discovered at that location either.

“The security threat plan involving a full evacuation went great. It went as smoothly as we could have hoped. We have a lot of people on our floors and a lot of staff on a Saturday night. The plan that we put in place and practiced worked well. I always say, ‘If you see something, say something,’ and our staff did that as soon as that happened. We alerted guests and team members alike. All of them were great. Obviously, there were some (patrons) that were disgruntled, but we expect that and we hope that they continue to trust us with their safety and their entertainment needs,” said Heskett.

Indigo Sky Casino Evacuation

“We’ll be working with law enforcement to possibly identify the person that left this note in the restroom,” said Heskett.

After the bomb sweep was complete, Indigo Sky’s hotel was reopened around 1:00 a.m. Sunday.

The casino, however, will remain closed until 8:00 a.m. Sunday.

Heskett said that people who left personal belongings on the gaming floor, as well as gaming chips, jackpot winnings and slot machine tickets can begin to redeem those items, starting at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

For more information, you can contact Indigo Sky Casino and Resort at (888) 992-7591.

“The process of investigating the bomb threat will start immediately and will be conducted primarily by the Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department,” said Heskett.

Saturday night’s evacuation due to a bomb threat at Indigo Sky wasn’t the facility’s only evacuation of the day.

A mandatory evacuation of the entire facility was issued around 6:30 Saturday morning, due to a “possible threat” on the casino floor.

You can read more about Saturday’s evacuation in this article, or by going HERE.

Witnesses Describe How Saturday Night’s Evacuation Unfolded

“I got there at 6 p.m. and decided to eat at the bar and grill,” said Hugh Smith, of Springdale, Ark.

Around 7 p.m. a person came into the restaurant saying everyone needs to get out, he said.

“We left our food and everything,” Smith said. “The workers were yelling at people to run and there was no time to wait on anyone or cash out.”

After waiting, Smith said he heard from a friend that casino officials told everyone to get as far back as possible and they locked down the parking lot. 

“We arrived around 4 p.m.,” said Tanya Stone, of Anderson.

Stone said she was eating dinner when security came in.

“They announced ‘everyone please get up and vacate the building to the nearest exit,’” Stone said.

Stone said her party was instructed not to go to their room or play the machines.

“Everyone got up and headed out,” Stone said.

An hour later, security officers came outside and told everyone to get to the back of the parking lot, she said.

“An hour and a half later, security came out and told everyone to go to the grass and get far away from the building,” Stone said.

Four hours had passed and security came out and told everyone to leave, she said.

“They were waiting for the bomb squad to come and clear the building,” Stone said. “They offered to shuttle people to Riverbend (Casino) for the night.”

“We had several people that didn’t have their medication, keys to their vehicles and money,” Stone said.

Stone said her party was notified late Saturday night the hotel is open, but the gaming floor will not be open until Sunday morning.

“I personally would not go back in there tonight other than to get my keys and medication,” Stone said.

“Never, at any time, were we made aware it was a bomb threat,” said Tisha Wetzel, of Siloam Springs, AR.

Wetzel said her party arrived at the casino around 6:40 p.m. and had just purchased bingo packs and found a seat. An announcement came over the intercom saying for everyone to evacuate the building, she said.

“We were never informed it was a bomb threat,” Wetzel said. “We exited the building and sat in the parking lot for over an hour.”

A security officer announced the casino would not reopen Saturday night, she said.

“We were told our things would be left on the tables where we left them,” Wetzel said. 

Two Evacuations In One Day For Indigo Sky Casino and Resort

Saturday night’s evacuation at Indigo Sky due to a bomb threat, wasn’t the facility’s only evacuation of the day.

Early Saturday morning (7/30), the casino security director for Indigo Sky was alerted to a possible threat on the casino floor.

The casino’s security director said he could not elaborate on what that “possible threat” was.

After discussing the possible threat with local law enforcement, who were called to Indigo Sky, it was decided that the threat was credible enough to issue a full evacuation order of the property.

Around 6:30 a.m., all those on the casino floor, including hotel guests and employees, were forced to evacuate the building.

Law enforcement officers worked for two hours Sunday morning until ultimately determining that the threat was not eminent.

The “all-clear” was issued at 8:30 a.m., allowing everyone to re-enter the building.

Melanie Heskett, General Manager for Indigo Sky Casino and Resort, attributes their emergency response plan for the quick and orderly evacuation.

“That plan was activated this morning and it worked well to deal with the credible threat at hand,” Heskett said.

Due to the developing nature of today’s incidents at Indigo Sky Casino and Resort, we’ll bring you the very latest information as it becomes available.

Miami man injured in one-vehicle accident

WYANDOTTE, Okla. – A Miami man was injured Sunday morning in a one-vehicle accident, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.

Devin T. Wilson, 22, was admitted to Freeman Hospital in stable condition with trunk, internal and leg injuries, the patrol said.

Wilson was eastbound on OK-10C around 1:30 a.m. when his vehicle departed the roadway to the right, striking a road sign, and hitting a concrete bridge rail., going over the bridge railing down into a ravine, the patrol reported.

The report showed Wilson’s condition and the cause of the collision are under investigation.

The one-car accident happened about four-tenths of a mile west of S. 670 road and five miles north and one and half miles east of Wyandotte, the patrol reported.

Marian Days 2022 at Carthage, Mo. tens of thousand expected

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Due to COVID it’s been two years since the Marian Days Festival has been held in Carthage. The last count estimated 120,0000 attended the 4-day festival. This year crowds could be larger.

Carthage Police Dept state, “we’re expecting a big crowd for this year.”

  • Grand from Highland south to Fairview
  • Fairview and Wynwood
  • Glenstone
  • Highland and Clinton

As of now the roads around the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer have been blocked. They will remain closed until Sunday morning, August 7th.

There will be large amounts of foot traffic near the grounds. Please be cautious in the area. We’re excited for Marian Days to be back and are planning on a safe event.” — Carthage Police Dept

The event is August 4 – 7 however thousands will arrive continually until the official start on Thursday.  It is so large they bring in portable cell phone towers around the area.

Marian Days is a festival and a pilgrimage for Vietnamese American Roman Catholics celebrated since 1978 on a 28-acre campus of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix in Carthage, Missouri. The event is organized by Vietnamese Catholic Americans with a Vietnamese theme in mind.

It is open to the public. Many locals visit shops and restaurants during the week that are set up on the east side of the campus.


“On April 30, 1975, 185 clergy – about half of the Congregation – left Vietnam as boat people just before the Fall of Saigon. They arrived in the United States and were placed in refugee camps.”

They came to Carthage because of Cardinal Bernard Law, who is most remembered today for the cover up of the sexual abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. Before Boston, however, he was bishop of the Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau.

Cardinal Law invited them to rent a vacant seminary, Our Lady of the Ozarks College. Between June 30 and September 3, 1975, nine priests, 154 brothers arrived in Carthage.

Stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we will cover the event. Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews1st email list so you don’t miss an article.

Pittsburg native Ben Fowler ties for 5th place at World Knife Throwing League US Open

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Pittsburg’s Ben Fowler placed in the top 10 at the World Knife Throwing League (WKTL) US Open earlier this month.

“I had all the feels walking into the arena on game day on Sunday,” Fowler says. “Walking in by myself… it was a feeling like none other of competition. Now, going forward I feel more prepared.”

The field was made up of 64 competitors. Fowler advanced to the finals and finished in a tie for 5th place.

“The competition was really tough,” Fowler says. “There were so many great throwers from around North America. I was able to show my skill set on a national level.”

He’s been competing in the sport for a little over a year. Fowler picked up knife throwing when recovering from a reconstructive foot surgery that forced him to relearn how to walk. His hard work is paying off.

“I was very happy finishing in the top eight,” Fowler says. “I felt like that was a great achievement for me. Knife throwing requires a lot of balance, walking and muscle memory, which I needed to relearn recovering from a major foot surgery. I was getting good and kept practicing and obsessing over the sport. Now, my hard work and work ethic has gotten me some recognition on ESPN.”

Fowler’s finals match will air on ESPN2 this Sunday and Monday.

New toy store opens in Downton Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — You can now head to Downtown Joplin and step back in time to see your favorite action figure, doll, or movie poster.

After having space for several years in the Joplin Flea Market, an area family says they simply ran out of space so they moved a short distance away and opened up G.I. Bill’s Toys and Collectables.

Melba Rigg is the co-owner and says it’s the ideal place to go to locate hard-to-find collectibles, as well as pieces from a collection customers may have lost over the years.

“Lord of the Rings, we have GI Joe, we have Power Rangers, we have He-Man, we have build your own figures, we have Marvel, we have Spawn, we have pieces from old things like the Mach One, we have some car pieces, we have Jack and Sally, we have Batman and Robin,” said Rigg.

A good example is Chelsea Kraft who, along with her family, walked in for the first time and was glad she did. Although most of what she bought isn’t going to her child.

“This place, it’s amazing. We don’t have a lot of vintage stores around here and the collection is just, it’s awesome, I love it. The Star Wars collection she has is nothing I’ve seen in a long time,” said Kraft.

Rigg says that if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can probably find it.

And, if you have a prized piece that no longer works, she says there’s a good chance they can fix it.

“They come to the store and they say ‘I used to have that, I used to play with that, I wonder where that is now, I bet that’s buried in the back yard,’ things like that. So we get that kind of stuff all the time here,” said Rigg.

And she says she’s pulling out all the stops to get people in to separate them from other collectible stores just a few doors away.

“The fact they put a mannequin on the outside, that brought me in. That was, that was awesome. I thought that was a real person,” said Kraft.