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Freeman Heart & Hands volunteer project targets Ronald McDonald House

JOPLIN, Mo. — Volunteers from a local health organization braved the heat to help those in need.

Freeman Health System’s Heart and Hands team woke up bright and early to lend a hand to the Ronald McDonald House of the Four States. Freeman’s Maintenance Department spent the past few weeks preparing the fences along the back patio and playground — before volunteers began painting them this morning.

This includes Program Director Melody Dickey who began volunteering with her family following the Joplin tornado.

“We were severely injured in the tornado, and the community did a lot for us as we were healing. So we just started giving back after the tornado, and we do several things throughout the community and hospital since then. We do a lot of stuff around town just to give back to trying to help the people that helped us,” said Melody Dickey, Freeman Health System Maintenance Dept. Program Secretary.

Originally the project was only supposed to include the gate at Ronald McDonald House — but the maintenance team decided to expand the project to include the rest of the fence.

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Pride In the Park returns to Vernon Co.

VERNON COUNTY, Mo. — Pride made its return to Vernon County this weekend. This afternoon marked the second “Pride In the Park” by Southwestern Pride. Roughly 17 LGBTQ+ friendly vendors, performers, and resources filled Marmaduke Park.

It also marks a big year for Southwestern Pride — since the last Pride In the Park, the organization has formalized — allowing it to support the LGBTQ+ communities in surrounding counties as well.

“It’s really a great thing to be able to help with, because it’s almost a forgotten part of our community in Vernon County and so it’s very good for us to be able to get together and talk to them and give them a safe spot to meet each other and hang out,” said Lucas Conner, Southwestern Pride VP.

“We didn’t have protection like we do now. We didn’t have a place to go to, and if there was it was always it was very, very secretive, so I feel that it’s very, very important that we don’t forget who paved the way for us. They had a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Some of them ended up in jail or prison, so that way we would have enough freedom to be able to come out here and enjoy ourself,” said Randy Hutchinson-Ray, Southwestern Pride President.

Since last year, Southwestern Pride has held two community town halls in Nevada and Butler to discuss LGBTQ+ issues.

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Over 1,000 volunteers showed up for JRC Project Partnership in Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. — A local congregation is doing its part to help communities across Southwest Missouri. James River Church kicked off “Project Partnership” with volunteer work throughout the Springfield and Joplin communities. It’s the 24th year for the event.

In Joplin, over 100 volunteers met at Junge Field to sanitize the entire Joplin School District bus fleet. This was also the first year the project extended outside Joplin. Volunteers helped with indoor and outdoor painting projects at Webb City Junior High and High School.

“We’re trying to meet the needs of the community, and so whatever that may be. These projects are usually outside of their annual budget, so this is just us coming alongside the school system, the teachers. We would just really like to help them and lift their arms as they enter into this new school year,” said Devin McDowell, James River Joplin Campus Asst. Pastor.

“It’s just amazing to see everybody, knowing how hot it’s going to be today, willing to give their time, their energy to come out and do something for the community that really means this much,” added Randy Brooks, Volunteer.

Over 1,000 volunteers took part in Project Partnership this year.

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New tradition kicks off in Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A tradition in Carthage is getting a cleanup.
This afternoon the Alliance of Southwest Missouri” held its first annual “Sudstock” in Carthage Municipal Park.

The event is a spin on its annual “Mudstock” obstacle course and instead focused on clean fun with foam cannons, water from a fire truck, slip and slides and bounce houses.

The nonprofit hopes today’s event encourages parents to talk to their kids about drug prevention.

“This event is something that is really promoting a lot of we talk about protective factors and family is one of those things. The more things that we can integrate into kids lives at an early age that encourages them to make positive choices and have healthy self-esteem the better off they are going to be and we know that,” said Kate Kelley, Carthage Caring Communities Coalition Coordinator.

Families enjoyed free hotdogs and ice cream during the event.

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Schifferdecker Golf Course hosts 100th anniversary tournament

JOPLIN, Mo. — Hundreds were teeing off to celebrate Schifferdecker Golf Course’s 100th anniversary.

Today the golf course held two separate golf tournaments to celebrate a century in Joplin.

More than 120 golfers of different skill levels hit the green.

The golf course raffled off a flat screen tv, free membership and restaurant giftcards.

“This course has a lot of history. When PGA touring pros used to play they would come through Joplin and have games with local pros. Some of those games were played here at Schifferdecker. Guys like Gene Sarazen, Horton Smith, names like those they played here at schifferdecker a long time ago,” said Daryn Buholt, Schifferdecker Golf Professional.

On Wednesday Schifferdecker Golf Course will turn 100.

To celebrate they are offering free golf for teams of four.

Click here to schedule a tee time.

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GWC National Monument holds schoolhouse program

JOPLIN, Mo. — The George Washington Carver National Monument is showing the community Carver’s roots.

Today a park ranger with the monument held a program at the “Neosho Colored School,” which was established in 1872 and is located at 639 Young street in Neosho.

This was the first place carver received an education and attended in 1876.

“What we want to do is not only highlight George Washington Carver and his connection to this local area, but also to a larger black education that was going on at this time. Part of the community itself is what makes this a historic structure because George Washington Carver was just one of many students that came here being taught by a number of different teachers specifically a Stephen Frost,” said Ryan O’Connell, Park Guide.

This year the historic schoolhouse is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The George Washington Carver National Monument will be holding another program at the schoolhouse on September 17 at 1p.m.

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Liberty working to restore power to 2,800 customers

JOPLIN, Mo. — Liberty Utilities Central said crews are working to restore power to more than 2,800 Joplin customers.

The outage was caused by a fallen tree and took out power just before 1p.m. today.

Liberty said line crews isolated the area and are making sure there are no other issues.

To check how soon power will be restored to your area click here.

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Webb City bridge updates continue

WEBB CITY, Mo. — A handful of bridge projects are currently underway in Webb City

Three bridges were damaged last month after what city officials are calling a “strange rain.”

Three inches fell in a matter of minutes on one night. It caused major backflow on all three, the 7th Street bridge, the one on Broadway, and the one on Zora.

“The 7th St. Bridge is done. We’ve completely finished it. The Broadway Bridge is drivable. It’s not unsafe, it’s just deteriorating on the north side and we want to fix that before it gets worse. It’s really kind of strange because, especially the Broadway Bridge, it’s been there probably for 100 years and never had damage like that,” said Carl Francis, City Administrator, Webb City.

Francis says the construction for all three bridges could total as much as $50,000.

All of the projects will be finished by the end of the summer.

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Abortion is now illegal in Missouri

NEOSHO, Mo. — Missouri becomes the first state in the nation to end abortions.

In a 5 to 4 vote this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Immediately after the decision, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a proclamation activating the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act. It makes abortion illegal in the state of Missouri unless it’s for a medical emergency.

State Representative Ben Baker of Neosho co-sponsored the bill and called today’s ruling a monumental decision.

“I look at it as probably the biggest conservative win as far as policy goes in my lifetime, it’s something that those of us that have advocated for pro-life this is the day that we’ve been looking forward to, hoping the Roe v. Wade would be overturned,” said Ben Baker, 160th District St Rep.

Next big fight looms over abortion pills

“I think far more people are very concerned about the birth control that is used for family planning in their home and do consider that very personal to them, even if they don’t have any opinion about abortion or that they don’t think that abortion is not something that people should be doing, they care very much about the family planning that they used at their home and Missouri’s trigger law and some of the other trigger laws in states really pave the way of outlawing multiple types of birth control,” said Krista Stark, Long-Time Democratic Activist.

Abortion ruling impact on LifeChoices

Meanwhile, abortions are still legal in the state of Kansas up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

In August, Kansas voters will decide if the state constitution grants the right to abortions.

Abortion services in Oklahoma stopped in May after Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill prohibiting all abortions.

And in Arkansas, abortions officially became illegal today after State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed Aarkansas’ Human Life Protection Act.

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Vehicle thefts in Joplin are on the rise

JOPLIN, Mo. — Is a rise in some types of crime a result of the economic hard times we’re in?

The Joplin Police Department has noticed an increase in the amount of theft from vehicles between January of this year and the end of May.

Captain Will Davis says that’s about a 27% increase from the same time frame last year. But, he says it’s hard to tell for sure why it’s gone up.

Court temporarily blocks FDA ban on sale of Juul e-cigarettes

In fact, he says it could be a crime of opportunity more than anything else.

“But if somebody is short on money and they see, you know, a purse or wallet setting in the center console and the doors are unlocked, it’s very easy, very quick. In a matter of seconds they can have that and be gone,” said Captain Davis.

And, until cases are cleared, he says it’s hard to tell if there are a lot of suspects involved or if just one individual is responsible for multiple crimes.