Christmas house fire in central Oklahoma kills one

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — One person is found dead in an Oklahoma City house fire Christmas morning.

According to the Oklahoma City Fire Department (OCFD), the blaze occurred around 7:45 a.m. Sunday (12/25) in a trailer home. Fire officials said smoke was pouring out of the trailer home when they arrived on the scene.

“Rigs that were coming out of the station could already see the heavy black smoke and coming from that area,” said Battalion Chief, Cathy Hayes.

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The OCFD said there were two people living in the home. One person was killed in the fire, while another person was able to escape safely.

“When we got on scene, the first engine company did a great job knocking the fire down. But there was heavy fire coming out of three of the four sides of the trailer home,” said Battalion Chief Hayes.

The cause of the fire is unknown, however the OCFD said they’re currently investigating alongside the Oklahoma City Police Department’s homicide unit. The investigation is expected to take several weeks.


Tales of buried treasure in the Ozarks

Inside the Old Spanish Treasure Cave in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. (Image Courtesy: Michele Skalicky)

This story was originally published in an online radio broadcast by Michele Skalicky with KSMU, Ozarks Public Radio. You’ll can read or listen to the full publication, HERE.

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Ark. (KSNF/KODE) — Stories of buried treasure in the Ozarks have intrigued people for decades. Brooks Blevins, Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, said the tales go all the way back at least to the first French explorers in the Greater Mississippi region and the eastern part of the Ozarks in the early 1700’s, and they likely got most of their stories from Spanish legends before that. Blevins said those explorers came upon stories of silver mines. According to Blevins, there are even reports that some of the lead samples they sent back to France were laced with silver.

“What happens is, by the time American settlers start to pour into the Ozarks in the very late 1700’s and early 1800’s, these legends are already circulating of the lost and buried silver and gold and all that kind of stuff,” said Blevins.

Blevins has written several pages of notes on these buried treasure stories in the Ozarks. One such story comes from the Old Spanish Treasure Cave in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, along the Missouri/Arkansas border. Paul and Tracy Linscott have owned the cave for more than 22 years. Paul Linscott has personally found part of a sword blade and a belt, and he’s heard stories of people finding gold coins, pieces of armor, weapons and a bracelet.

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A few years ago during a severe drought, Linscott and his wife, Tracy, were able to access a part of the cave that’s usually underwater.

“We went down to one of the springs, and we found some symbols that were carved in the wall. Now, one of the symbols looked kind of like a candy cane and then on the right hand side of it looked like a little eyeball and then above the eyeball there was some squiggly lines. Now, of course, we interpreted that as ‘turn around and look underneath the water.’ Of course, we weren’t standing in the water, so I looked where that eye was pointing and what we saw was a little space between a floor and the wall. Now, of course, we got down there, and we were looking in that space, we found a little room with a long pool of water.”

He said they immediately started digging down to open up the entrance, and they found old wood encased in clay. But they didn’t get the entrance large enough to access what was behind it before it started raining. The water immediately started to rise and the area quickly flooded.  They’re waiting for the next drought to continue digging. 

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But Linscott won’t mind if he never finds the treasure. He didn’t buy the cave, he said, because of the buried treasure story it came with.

“We love the cave, and that’s why we bought the cavern. I didn’t believe any of this treasure stuff, and it wasn’t until we found a few artifacts and started digging up and looking at some of the history to try and authenticate some of that, and then that’s when we believed that the treasure hunt is a real thing here,” he said.

The Linscotts love to show people their cave. They host movie nights inside one of the cave’s large rooms, they have a “camp in the cavern” program for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Venture Crews, they host school groups for tours and, for a fee, and they offer seasonal cave tours to the public.

This story was originally published in an online radio broadcast by Michele Skalicky with KSMU, Ozarks Public Radio. You’ll can read or listen to the full publication, HERE. You can also read about more treasure stories in the Ozarks on the Springfield-Greene County Library District’s website, HERE.


The greatest gift: Bundles of joy

PITTSBURG, Kan. — What better way to spread cheer than capturing pictures of sweet sleeping newborns? Babies born a few days before Christmas at the Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg were dressed up and photographed.

Volunteers at the hospital hand-made themed outfits for the newest arrivals at the Labor and Delivery Unit. The outfits were themed as Santa, a snowman, and a reindeer.

Rachel Johnson, a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery unit, photographed the bundles of joy. The photos were given to the parents as gifts.


Christmas Eve shopping at the Webb City Farmers Market

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Small businesses were cashing in on some last-minute shopping in Webb City.

Many gathered this morning, at the “Webb City Farmers Market”.

Around 15 vendors were there to display their businesses in the market.

All the items for sale are locally produced, including jewelry, arts and crafts, and food items like raw honey, baked sweets, and fresh fruit.

Folks also enjoyed a hot breakfast, along with Mexican coffee.

Santa Claus also made a final appearance, before his busy route kicked off earlier tonight.

“At this venue, the Farmers Market is a venue for them to do business and if it weren’t for somebody like us, they would not have a place to sell their goods. So we provide that environment for them and they appreciate us,” said Rick Hamilton, Volunteer.

The market is open weekly all year round, each Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the enclosed and heated pavilions at “King Jack Park”.


Tinsel and Tidings Holiday Market

JOPLIN, Mo. — Many ventured out for some last-minute Christmas shopping.

The “Joplin Empire Market” hosted their Tinsel and Tidings Holiday Market.

Each year, this event caps off a busy holiday season for the market.

Around 30 local vendors were on hand, offering various homemade products and goods for shoppers.

Market organizers say they saw a big turnout of those last-minute shoppers for several reasons.

“Especially this year, we noticed that a lot of customers were kind of holding off on some of their holiday shopping, with the economy and things being a little tight. We had a lot of “looky-loos” throughout November; people kinda taking stock on our vendors and who’s here and last week, the shopping picked up and this week. We’ve seen a lot of those last-minute shoppers and people looking for those one-of-a-kind gifts made locally for their loved ones this year,” said Lindsay Gagnon, Director, Joplin Empire Market.

Let’s look ahead to next month.

Chili fanatics, mark this date on your calendar: Saturday, January 21st. That’s when the “Joplin Empire Market” will host their annual chili cookoff competition. Registration is now open.

For more information, visit the Empire Market’s Facebook page, here.


How to tackle holiday travel delays and cancellations

KSNF/KODE — If you expect to encounter delays or cancellations in your holiday travel, listen up.

The “Better Business Bureau” in Springfield has tips to keep in mind.

It’s important to check carrier and credit card terms, to see if they can reimburse you for a hotel or food, while you wait.

Remember to keep all your documentation, to help make getting a refund easier and faster.

If your flight is canceled, your airline should book you on the next available flight.

If that’s not an option for you, get in contact with your airline.

“They are entitled to a full refund. Some airlines might offer vouchers, but you want to ask about any black-out dates or expiration dates on those vouchers. But, again, consumers are entitled to that refund if they are unable to take that later flight. And again, that preparation. Book your flight, if you can, with a credit card that offers some trip protection or travel warranty,” said Pamela Hernandez, Regional Director, Better Business Bureau of Springfield.

The “Better Business Bureau” in Springfield has more tips and information on their website, here.


How flight delays and cancellations can impact holiday travel

JOPLIN, Mo. — We’re finally recovering from the dangerous winter weather that impacted travel earlier this week.

If you’re traveling elsewhere in the country over the next few days, flight delays and cancellations could impact your trip.

Some airports across the country are currently shut down.

Even if the “Joplin Regional Airport” is open with clear runways, its connecting flights from Denver and Chicago could still see delays and cancellations.

“We encourage travelers to watch the weather, get on the websites and check the airline website and see what the flights are doing. Generally, it’s not, um, the weather doesn’t affect us as much as it might them, but when we have connections to those, the big hub airports, whatever is delayed there, is going to go downhill and it’s going to affect this regional airport here.” said Bart Starkey, Manager, Joplin Regional Airport.

Starkey says to check with “United Airlines”, either through their website or app if you’re flying through the “Joplin Regional Airport”.

A reminder, they are the only offered commercial airline in Joplin.


Patrick Mahomes outlines his Christmas plans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are preparing for Christmas Day with a win under their belt.

After the Chiefs beat the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, quarterback Patrick Mahomes gave a little outlook on what his Christmas Day is going to be like.

“We flew all the family up so they’re going to be there at the house and get to enjoy Christmas with everybody and (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid gave us Sunday off, so we have Christmas Day off,” Mahomes said.

“We’ll get to watch football, basketball, everything and so it’s going to be a great day with all the family. I’m trying to do the gingerbread houses and I’m going to be competitive. I’m going to try to win it.”

Mahomes tallied 224 yards passing and three total touchdowns vs. the Seahawks.

While the Chiefs are still waiting for the Buffalo Bills to drop a game to become the number-one seed, the star quarterback is proud of how his team has been playing in the last few games.

“I thought we got better as a team this week. The defense played really good against a really good offense.

“The offense, we executed at some points really well, but we’re going to learn from this and try to get better next week,” he said.

“You want to be playing your best football going into the playoffs and I feel like that’s where we have to continue to get better and better is let’s put that full game together – offense, defense, special teams and I thought we did a pretty good job of it today but we can be even better going into these last two weeks.”

The Chiefs wrap up their season with two games against AFC West foes in matchups with the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders.


Royals downtown stadium design consultant talks location, timeline

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What will the Royals proposed new downtown ballpark look like? Where will it go?

One Kansas City man can answer those questions better than anyone. He and his team have designed the majority of new Major League Baseball stadiums this century.

Earl Santee, Populous Founder and Global Chair, says it’s almost certain to have some sort of skyline view serving as a great backdrop. That’s something that’s become a signature element of Populous’s downtown stadiums.

“This is from Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park) Houston Astros. Drayton McLane signed it for me,” Santee said pointing to one of a dozen bats that line his Kansas City office.

Each is from a Major League stadium he’s helped design. That list has grown most recently with the additions of Target Field in Minneapolis and Truist Park in Atlanta. They are modern ballparks built around fan experiences, both around the ballparks’ concourses and surrounding entertainment and office districts.

“I go to a game now and I’m watching people experience the game more than I’m watching the game itself,” Santee said.

Santee said he learned early on from design of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, location is equally as important as the features of the park.

“Really the most interesting part about site selection is visualizing what’s possible,” he said.

Populous is now consulting with the Royals on a proposed $2 billion downtown 35,000 seat stadium and ballpark district. It’s helped survey 14 potential sites in and around downtown studying both traffic and parking.

Santee said each of those site has a minimum of 14 acres for the stadium itself, and the site selection will have a big influence on the architectural design. But he promises it will have Kansas City features in line with Kauffman Stadium’s fountains and Crown.

“We love what the opportunity may lay in front of us. The city informs what we may do with the ballpark. It tells us what it wants to be, where it wants to be, how it fits in neatly, how it integrates with the community, how it makes it feel like its more than a ballpark.”

Of all the ballparks he’s designed in other communities, last week was the first time he’d been a part of a team listening session.

“When you go through the process its tough, it’s hard. You have to make tough decisions, but every city we’ve done it in have never regretted it. In fact they’ve embraced all the new ballparks across America.” 

There’s still plenty to be ironed out besides site selection, including development agreements and the public financing portion. Santee said design and construction would likely take about 4 years – give or take – depending on which site is chosen.


Got new gadgets for Christmas? Recycle or trade-in your old stuff!

ST. LOUIS — As millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, tearing open tens of thousands of new gadgets, gizmos, trinkets, and appliances, many of us will be left wondering what to do with our old or used tech.

Tossing those old headphones, vacuums, smartphones, or computers into the dumpster can result in hazardous materials winding up in your local landfill. And that’s not good for the environment.

Best Buy allows people to recycle or trade-in their old electronics at every one of their stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. It doesn’t matter where you bought it, who made it, or how old it is. Best Buy will take it.

The box store retailer allows people to recycle up to three items per household per day for free. You can drop off your unwanted doodads in-store, or, if you have an appliance or big TV that needs to be picked up, Best Buy will come to your home and haul it away.

Stores also offer gift cards as part of the company’s trade-in program.

Don’t live near a Best Buy? Or want to bring your old gadgets elsewhere? That’s okay; the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has compiled a registered list of businesses across the state that will recycle your electronics.