Lamar aims to bring home program’s 9th state championship

LAMAR, Mo. – (WATCH) The Lamar Tigers will face Blair Oaks for the Missouri Class 2 state championship on Friday in Columbia.

The Tigers are coming off a big 56-14 win over Seneca in the state semifinals.

“Our kids started fast. I would say it was definitely some of the best ball we’ve played,” says Lamar head coach Jared Beshore, “I’m hoping we can play some better ball this week, to see what our actual ceiling is with this team. We have one more week to see what kind of ball club we really have.”

With a win on Friday against Blair Oaks, Lamar would claim its 9th state championship since 2011.

“It would mean the world to these kids,” Beshore adds, “There are kids on this team that three years ago I would have told you I don’t think they will ever be ball players for us, but they’ve proven themselves and they’ve worked their tails off. We have put a lot of time and effort into this season. To finally see the payout and to play in this game is incredible. We want to go out on top. We want to be crying tears of joy and not tears of disappointment at the end of Friday night.”

The team is also motivated to finish the job Friday – after finishing as the state runner-up in 2021.

“I think it has been a motivation, but we try to go week by week and day by day,” Beshore says, “You can’t win on Friday if you do not win today. I tell our guys we have to beat your opponent today, then tomorrow and the next day and so on. It takes care of itself if take that approach, and I think our guys have done a nice job of taking that approach.”

Friday’s game kicks off at 3 PM in Columbia, Missouri.


MSSU men prepare to host #1 Northwest Missouri in MIAA opener

JOPLIN, Mo. – (WATCH) The Missouri Southern men will open MIAA conference play on Thursday night, hosting #1 Northwest Missouri State.

The Lions have won four straight games after an 0-2 start to grab some momentum before facing the undefeated Bearcats.

“It feels good. We’re playing at a good pace both defensively and offensively. We obviously have a long way to go to, but we’re in a good spot right now,” says MSSU head coach Sam McMahon, “We’re just getting used to each other. It’s a new staff and some new players. We’re getting some confidence going into our MIAA schedule. We’re ready to compete and we’re ready to get after it.”

“Confdence is definitely growing,” adds MSSU guard Avery Taggart, “Coaches have instilled that into us and instilled the right way to play, the right way to win and what you have to do to win. We’ve been doing those things and it’s been showing out on the court.”

Local Graduate Nurses continue their education through local hospitals

JOPLIN, Mo. – Local Graduate Nurses were recognized today at Freeman Hospital for their recent accomplishments.

25 local GNs from Crowder College’s Nursing Program have already completed 2 years of schooling as they work to become RNs.

Like a sports signing, these students signed contracts to begin working and gaining experience through local hospital-student programs.

Click here to learn more.

Oklahoma bill looks to lower age of handgun owners, carriers

GROVE, Okla. – Republican State Representative Jim Olsen is the author of a bill that would lower the age restrictions to carry and purchase a handgun from 21 to 18, as long as the person is a permanent resident of Oklahoma.

Some organizations including The Oklahoma Chapter of Moms Demand Action have expressed opposition to expanding gun access without a requirement for gun safety training.

The legislative session will be heard in February of next year.

Seneca students collect goods for local food pantry

SENECA, Mo. – Seneca Elementary and Intermediate students wrapped up their friendly competition to see who collected the most food.

Officials say this is an annual event done with Bright Futures, and the class that collects the most food wins a donut party.

Teachers assign each class a food item like cereal or juice, and its up to the students to collect their assigned goods.

This week, all the goods were donated to the Seneca Food Pantry.

Click here to learn more.

Kentucky Fried Chicken on W. 7th, weeks away from opening in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. – Kentucky Fried Chicken returns to Joplin in 2023. Located in the 2600 block of West 7th. It is adjacent west to Murphy’s USA.

In past years Joplin had numerous KFC locations, including: 20th and Main, 24th and Rangeline and E. 7th and South Florida. 

The new building is framed and banners are now up encouraging future team members to apply online.

TO APPLY: Text ‘KFCJOBS’ to 97211

Sources tell us they are just weeks away from opening.

There are currently other KFC locations near Joplin:

  • 1731 South Madison, Webb City, Mo.
  • 2625 Grand Ave, Carthage, Mo.
  • 3075 Gardner-Edgewood Drive, Neosho, Mo.
  • 921 South Broadway, Pittsburg, Kan.
  • 105 South Osage, Nevada, Mo.


Stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to cover news and stories where you live.



View this profile on Instagram


Joplin News First (@joplinnewsfirst) • Instagram photos and videos

Missouri State Highway Patrol sees increase in school threats on anonymous hotline app

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol says it’s received more than 90 threats against schools so far this year through its app “Courage2Report.”

Students, parents, community members, and even educators can report any type of threat at the touch of a finger on their phone. With a large increase in reports since last year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) said it’s now more important than ever to use the program. 

“Sometimes we will have two or three tips a day that require immediate action of law enforcement,” said Lt. Eric Brown with MSHP. “Local law enforcement is advised of every tip that comes in, even if it appears to be something low level.”

It was a tragic scene last month as dozens of students and teachers ran from the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis as police said a gunman opened fire. Police said 19-year-old Orlando Harris used an AR-15 style rifle, shooting and killing 16-year-old Alexandria Bell and 61-year-old PE teacher Jean Kuczka. 

Brown said the “Courage2Report” app has prevented tragedies in the past and hopes more people will use the program. 

“We do receive a lot of threats of school shootings or a targeted act of violence towards certain children, but a lot of the tips that we receive are related to bullying,” Brown said. 

MSHP, the Department of Social Services and the Missouri School Board Association released the program in 2019, and it’s free for schools. It allows a family member, student or teacher to anonymously report a threat or bullying. 

According to MSHP, so far this year, more than 900 tips have been reported. That’s a 51% increase from 2021. There’s also been 87 school shooting threats and 4 planned attacks. Since the program went live, bullying and cyberbullying make up for nearly 30% of the 2,225 tips MSHP has received. There’s also been 170 reports of school shootings, 97 reports of threat to kill others, 84 reports of sex offenses and 81 tips of someone being in possession of a gun. 

“People are becoming more aware of the threats of violence in schools, and they are also becoming more aware of the various things you can use that system for,” Brown said.

Compared to 2021 when there were only 897 tips in all, MSHP believes since the system debuted during COVID-19, there wasn’t much advertising. Now, with the number of tips doubling in a year and multiple reports of school threats a day, Brown encourages everyone to download the app. 

“Hopefully, we are seeing an increase in reports because people just became more aware and are more concerned about the safety of their schools,” Brown said. “They are more concerned about the safety of their children that are there, and they are concerned about the safety of their staff and are choosing to make the decision to report something.”

Brown said it has become an issue where people are reporting threats that are fake, but no matter if it’s real or a prank, law enforcement investigates all tips. 

“For anyone that’s thinking about taking those type of steps and making false threats, it is a crime, and it has serious repercussions,” Brown said. “Just by causing that scare in the community, they can be guilty of a crime such as making a terroristic threat, but they are also putting the greater public at harm.”

The program works like this. First, the parent or student reports the problem on the app, hotline or online. The administration, school resource officer, local law enforcement and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are notified of the report. Then, they can take action to stop the threat and offer services to the student. 

Since 2016, MSHP also has been using a school walkthrough initiative. It allows troopers to enter schools at random times throughout the day and school year, helping grow relationships because of officers and the school community. 

“It gets our troopers the knowledge of the layout of the building if there ever is an act of violence there, they know that building and they know where to go,” Brown said. “It also allows our troopers to have more contact with young kids and build a rapport with them, so they are comfortable around law enforcement. 

Every Missouri school is registered on the “Courage2Report” app. Courage2Report operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you don’t want to download the free app, you can submit a report by phone (866-748-7047) or on the website.

Thanksgiving MSHP holiday statistics

MISSOURI. — The “Missouri State Highway Patrol” has released its latest holiday numbers.

There were a total of 414 crashes over the “Thanksgiving Holiday Counting Period.”

Eight people died in those crashes, and 115 were injured.

Troopers also arrested 113 people for drunk driving and 35 people for drugs.

The agency did not respond to any boat crashes, but did report two drownings.

Overall, numbers were down from what troopers saw during last year’s counting period.

"Holiday Tree Trail" kicks off at Mercy Park

JOPLIN, Mo. — A 3rd annual event transforms Joplin’s Mercy Park into a festive, family activity. Tonight (11/29) kicks off the “Holiday Tree Trail” contest presented by Joplin Parks and Recreation, the City of Joplin, and the Visit Joplin group.

Before everyone made their way from tree-to-tree, the evening began with several performances by Karen’s Dance Studio, while our two favorite funny guys, Howie and Bubba from KODE’S Good Morning Four States provided the introductions. Even Santa himself took time out of his busy schedule to light up the walking trail, which is made of up 40 decorated trees; each one sponsored by a different local business or organization.

“I think it’s very special for all the families to be able to come out and enjoy it together. It’s very well organized and lit up and nice. I look forward to coming every year that they have it.”

Mistey Evy – Touring The Holiday Tree Trail

“It just makes the community come together during the holiday time and just being able to be out and enjoy the wonderful event that the community puts on and just enjoy this with your family. It’s just a different thing you can do and just be able to support the community.”

Keri Kirby – Office Administrative Coordinator, Olsson

“I think that’s the great thing, people coming out and seeing the various trees by the organizations, seeing what we represent and just getting to celebrate the season with the Joplin community.”

Lori Crockett – PR & Marketing, Joplin Public Library

| Army Vet Builds, Donates Grandfather Clock >

You have until December 21st to make that tough decision: Which of the 40 trees is you favorite? Voting is done by scanning the QR codes displayed next to each tree on the trail. You can vote for your favorite tree during the park’s hours of 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The top 3 winners will receive a special trophy and catering from Texas Roadhouse in Joplin.